Governor to sign ‘Katie Bug’s Law’ in special ceremony next month

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Ryan Gatti with Morgan and Kirk Grantham. (Courtesy of Ryan Gatti)

Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to have a special bill signing ceremony in Bossier next month for “Katie Bug’s Law.”

The bill would honor the legacy of 4-year-old Katie Grantham by allowing drug testing in severe traffic accidents.

Grantham, of Bossier Parish, was killed in an auto accident in 2017. Katie suffered critical injuries to her spinal cord and was taken off life support after seven days in the hospital.

Katie’s mother, Morgan Grantham, suspected the driver who hit them was impaired by drugs, he was not tested by police since Katie did not die at the scene. 

The driver, who ran a red light north of Bossier City, served 10 days in prison. Without more sufficient evidence, such as a drug test, prosecutors could only charge him with a traffic violation, instead of negligent or vehicular homicide. 

Katie Grantham

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier City, and would mandate either chemical, blood or urine testing in a traffic crash involving serious bodily injury or death. Gatti’s bill defines serious bodily injury as one that is “severe” or “incapacitating.”

Louisiana’s current law allows for post-accident drug testing only when a collision results in an on-site fatality. The proposed bill, however, would expand the existing law. 

Morgan Grantham, who testified at the House Transportation Committee this May, said while she expects people to do the right thing, the law should hold them accountable for their actions.

“When you make a choice to commit a traffic crime and someone is hurt…you should be accountable to whatever it is that’s in your system that could be impairing your judgment,” Grantham said. 

Under Gatti’s proposal, law enforcement officers would determine whether an accident involves a serious bodily injury. 

Crash fatalities remain at a high rate in the state. In 2018, there were 762 confirmed fatalities in Louisiana, according to data from LSU’s Highway Safety Research Group.