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 November 7, 2003
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Exclusive Investigation
Eyewitness News Uncovers A DUI Loophole In Rhode Island
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Most people have no idea about the drivers on the roads with them. That lack of awareness can make hitting the roads a dangerous move.
Alcohol related deaths in the ocean state this year put us on pace to have the greatest number of DUI fatalities per capita of any state in the country. And tonight, Eyewitness News uncovers a DUI loophole that could be letting repeat offenders back on the road.
32 people died in car crashes in the first six months of this year. A crash in Coventry last month added to the numbers. For John and Meg Decubellis it was a shocking case of deja vu.�We had to tell our 10 year old son tell him that his sister had been killed and then leave him here.�
Katie Decubbellis was 13 years old when she became the victim of a drunk driver.
�It seems like yesterday and yet it seems like a lifetime, it�s permanent every night we kiss the other kids and come into this room.�
The room of the little girl with so much promise remains unchanged after three years, a shrine to a life that did not have to be lost.�Those people who are repeat offenders need help they are obviously diseased by alcohol and we need to get them treatment.�
Col. Steve Pare of the Rhode Island state police says that drivers like the man who killed Katie Decubellis sometimes use a loophole to avoid punishment.
�We have people out there refusing to take a breath test or on a number of occasions the word is out to refuse and it�s having an impact.�Refuse a breathalizer in Massachusetts and you automatically lose your license for 6 months.
Rhode Island is the only New England state that takes a lighter approach and the Decubellis family thinks the law should change.
�There is no incentive not to refuse to take the test, by refusing to take the test you never ever get it into the criminal justice system a person could refuse to take the test once a week and will never be looking at jail...ever.�
The man who killed Katie Decubellis is serving 12 - 15 years for her death.
�The girlfriend who was travelling in the vehicle with him at one point said you better slow down before you kill someone and he just laughed at her.�
Stephen Reis had been pulled over before, would a breathalzier have taught him a lesson?
�Bottom line is those who come in and experience some type of penalty that makes them stop and thing...that�s an effective way to handle it.�Rhode Island is also the only New England state not to allow State Police to run field sobriety tests.
Meg and John Decubellis think these laws should change. Meanwhile they share the story of their daughter to help educate young drivers.

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