Bill addressing post-accident drug testing advances in La. legislature

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (KTAL/KMSS) –  A proposed law allowing for drug testing in traffic accidents resulting in serious injury is headed to the House in the Louisiana legislature. 

HB 138 would allow officers to determine whether a driver should be tested for drugs in crashes that involve serious bodily injury. Current Louisiana law allows for post-accident drug testing only when a collision results in an on-site fatality.

“Katie Bug’s Law” was created in honor of a young girl died after a tragic car accident in Bossier Parish. Sponsored by Sen. Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier City, it was approved by the Louisiana House Transportation Committee Monday. 

In 2017, 4-year-old Katie Grantham was critically injured when 48-year-old Shane Christopher DeMoss ran a red light Benton Road near Kingston Road in his pickup truck and struck the 4Runner she was riding in. She was thrown from her booster seat and suffered severe spinal cord injuries from which she would never recover.

Katie Grantham was taken off life support after seven days in the hospital. Because she later died in the hospital and not at the scene, DeMoss was not drug tested. He passed a field sobriety test, but when authorities later searched his truck, they say they found meth, pills, and alcohol. 

Without more evidence of impairment, such as a drug test, prosecutors could only charge him with a traffic violation, instead of negligent or vehicular homicide. He ultimately served 10 days in jail. 

“It wasn’t a traffic matter. He committed a traffic crime and he killed someone,” Katie’s mother, Morgan Grantham, told the transportation committee Monday. “My daughter never breathed on her own again. We’re not asking for anyone that makes a mistake to be drug tested. It’s only if your mistake can kill someone.”

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