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Petition Started in Memory of Plum Woman, Crash Victim

Debbie Solko's sister, Christine Beilstein, was killed in an accident last year. Now, she's starting a petition to make sure families in similar situations get justice.

The family of a Plum woman who died in a car accident has created a petition in the hopes of increasing the jail sentence for those accused of driving drunk and killing someone in the process.

Debbie Solko, a Plum native, has created the petition in honor of her sister, Christine Beilstein.

Beilstein, 45, of Plum Borough was pronounced dead at the scene of a May 12, 2012, head-on collision on Milltown Road in Penn Hills—very close to the Plum border.

Her young son, Justin, who was 9 at the time of the accident and is a fourth-grader at Regency Park Elementary, has continued to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver, Duane Woodson, 51, was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison earlier this month. He pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Solko said that is unacceptable.

"Obviously, my family and I are disappointed with the weak sentence Mr. Woodson received," Solko said in an email to the Plum-Oakmont Patch. "I am disappointed that the current law has such weak punishment parameters. Fortunately, not all families have to deal with the loss of a family member in this horrific manner. Therefore, all of my friends were fairly shocked and appalled at what we all perceived as a 'light' sentence."

Solko's petition calls for lawmakers to make 25 years in prison the minimum sentence for vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

"We need to spread the word—the sentencing laws in place currently are sad," she said. "There are 21 states that have a minimum sentence of zero for a drunk driving vehicular homicide (charge). Unbelievable."

A document with sentences by state has been uploaded in the media section of this article.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can do so by clicking here.

The petition will be sent to local legislators, senators and state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

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Debbie Solko January 18, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Thank you! I encourage EVERYONE to sign this petition! If this happened to YOUR loved one - what sentence would YOU want. Remember the old saying, "If you're going to do the crime - do the time"? Well, help make THESE criminals DO THE TIME!

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