Governor joins Grantham family and Sen. Gatti for special signing of ‘Katie Bug’s Law’

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Gov. Edwards signs Katie Bug’s Law at the Bossier Parish Courthouse July 19. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Governor Edwards held a ceremonial bill signing Friday afternoon for “Katie Bug’s Law”  at the Bossier Parish Courthouse.

Named in memory of 4-year-old Katie Grantham, SB 138, also known as “Katie Bug’s Law,” allows officers to determine whether a driver should be tested for drugs in crashes that involve serious bodily injury. Previously, Louisiana law allowed for post-accident drug testing only when a collision results in an on-site fatality.

“We’re glad we went through this process so that we can have a different outcome for other families,” said Morgan Grantham, Katie’s mother. “This bill, Katie’s Bill, is a true testament to the power of teamwork. There could be no justice with accountability. So, this is one step in the right direction to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.”

The parents of Katie Grantham speak during the signing of Katie Bug’s Law at the Bossier Parish Courthouse July 19. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Gov. Edwards thanked the parents for their strength and perseverance.

“The love a parent has for a child is so strong and will motivate people to do tremendous things, and that’s what we saw here especially considering Morgan didn’t really know a whole lot about the law to begin with. This wasn’t something that she had ever really done before,” the governor said. “But she was excellent on that. She worked extremely hard. She was faithful to the cause and made multiple trips down to Baton Rouge. And, so I think she serves as an example for other people to be involved.”

He added, “They allowed their love for their daughter, Katie to motivate them to try to make sure that fewer individuals, fewer families and communities, have to go through this again.”

Sen. Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City) sponsored SB 138.

He said to have the bill signed into law is a testament to the hard work of many, including Katie’s mother who regularly drove back and forth from Bossier to Baton Rouge to champion the legislation to prevent a similar tragedy happening to another family.

“She became an expert in this area of the law. This signing is really a celebration of Morgan’s hard work to remember her daughter,” said Gatti. “I have drafted and filed over 60 pieces of legislation, 22 have become law. But this bill is one of the most meaningful bills that I have ever had the chance to work on.”

Gov. Edwards formally signed the legislation into law June 20.

Katie Grantham was critically injured in a crash at a Bossier Parish intersection in November 2017 when 48-year-old Shane Christopher DeMoss ran a red light and struck the vehicle she was riding in. Katie Grantham was thrown from her booster seat and suffered severe spinal cord injuries.

Katie 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. 

DeMoss pleaded guilty to running a red light. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, to be served on weekends.