Family hopes 'Jaelan's Law' will give stricter penalties to repeat DUI offenders
LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV) —
Family and friends of the teen killed while on his way to school gathered to mark the one-month anniversary of his death.
At exactly 6:15 a.m. the family of Jaelan Fajardo gathered alongside dozens of his friends. They believe this is the moment of impact in the violent crash.
Fajardo’s family is now hoping to turn his untimely death into a legacy, with the hopes of a change in law. They’ve titled their call for stricter DUI laws and penalties “Jaelan's Law.”
"Jaelan’s Law" would add on harsher penalties for convicted DUI offenders, adding on more prison time with each offense.
"This gentleman, if you can call him that, this offender, had a history and he wouldn't be on the streets and Jaelan would be here today," said Geri Roth, a close friend of the family’s.
The man accused of killing Fajardo is David Fensch, 47, who was arrested on one count of vehicular homicide.
Court records show Fensch has been charged with at least two DUI charges in Michigan and two others, right here, in Clark County.
Following the violent crash, Fensch admitted to police that he'd drank four glasses of rum and was also on Xanax, a drug typically used to treat anxiety.
Fajardo's family says the details investigators have released about the crash have fueled their calls and emails to lawmakers.
I want them to know that there should be stricter DUI laws,” said Jaelan’s younger sister, Aleah Fajardo, 14. “I want them to know that so they won't drink and drive so a lot so they know there's going to be a bigger consequence for that."
Fajardo's family says they'll continue to come together to fight for change. They want his death to have a purpose by protecting others.
“Maybe his death can bring something positive as well. To keep our kids safer. See them graduate, see them grow, have grandchildren too. His name will live on,” said Roth.
In addition to stricter laws, the family says they'd also like to use "Jaelan's Law" to create a registry for DUI offenders, like what is used with convicted sex offenders.
In 2015, there were nearly 2,300 first time DUI offenders in Clark County. That doesn't include arrests in Henderson or North Las Vegas.
With the budget crunch that we have, to mandate one year in prison for anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 people a year, mandatory in prison, we'd have to realistically build another prison," said State Senator Mark Manendo. "It's expensive to house offenders. We know that. More staff, more prisons, through the court system. We just don't have that kind of money.”
Manendo is pushing his own bill that could come at a cheaper cost.
He says, if you get caught drunk driving and want to keep your driver's license, you would have to put an ignition interlock device in your car.
"They can only drive the vehicle that has the ignition interlock. That way they can continue to do what they need to do in between the time they're arrested and the time they go to court," said Manendo. "But they have to pay for it. It's about 60 bucks a month, which is a very small price to pay to continue to be able to have those privileges to drive. Because driving is a privilege, not a right.”
If you would like to support "Jaelan’s Law", the family asks that you write or call your local representative.
To find your legislator, click here.