Jul. 15, 2022
– Legislation named in memory of DUI homicide victim Deana DeRosa Eckman of Delaware County has been signed into law, said the author of the bill, Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware). Quinn was joined by DeRosa’s parents, Rich and Roseann DeRosa, and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer to announce the enactment of the legislation.
“Today marks the end of an effort that began more than three years ago, shortly after the tragic and senseless death of Deana DeRosa Eckman,” said Quinn. “Her memory is now permanently enshrined in state law, and Pennsylvanians will be better protected from the worst-of-the-worst repeat DUI offenders because of Deana’s Law.”
DeRosa Eckman was killed in a head-on collision on Feb. 16, 2019, in Upper Chichester, Delaware County. A truck being driven by David Strowhouer, previously convicted of five DUIs, crossed the double yellow line. Deana was pronounced dead at the scene.
Quinn’s legislation, Act 59 of 2022
, requires consecutive sentences for those convicted of third and subsequent DUIs. It also increases prison sentences for those offenders. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery).
Quinn’s bill was passed by the House in November of last year, was approved by the Senate on July 7, 2022 and signed by the governor on July 12. Deana’s Law was first introduced in 2019 by former Sen. Tom Killion (R-Chester and Delaware) and passed the Senate but fell short of final passage in the House.
“Deana was just 45 years old, vibrant and beloved by a wide circle of friends and family,” said Quinn. “Her murderer, with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit turned a three-ton pickup truck into a deadly weapon. He robbed Deana of decades of life and her friends and family of her presence.
“He was out on the street only because he was allowed to serve the sentences for his fourth and fifth DUIs concurrently. Had the court imposed consecutive sentences for these offenses, he would have still been imprisoned the night she was killed. That painful fact magnifies this tragedy and highlights the need for this new law,” continued Quinn.
“I want to thank Rich and Roseann DeRosa for their tireless advocacy to ensure more families won’t have to endure the same pain they will always carry from the senseless loss of their beloved daughter,” said District Attorney Stollsteimer. “I also want to thank Rep. Chris Quinn, without whose legislative skills and dedication to this cause this bill would not be law. My office prioritizes public safety, as well as concern for the victims and survivors of crime, and Deana’s Law promotes both.”
“There are no words strong enough to describe the pain of outliving your child,” said Roseann DeRosa. “Deana’s death left a wound in our lives that will never fully heal. What happened to her and our family could have happened to anyone. We are incredibly grateful that Deana’s memory will better protect Pennsylvanians from those who repeatedly and wantonly drive under the influence.”
“I’m truly honored that I could partner with Rep. Quinn to get this bill passed in the General Assembly,” said Mensch. “His leadership in the House was a valuable first step, culminating in Senate passage and its approval by the governor to honor Deana’s memory. The DeRosa family has been vigorous advocates for this new law, and it is a testament to the love for their daughter that they spent so much time and effort working with their legislators to pass this bill which will undoubtedly save lives in Pennsylvania.”
Mensch offered remarks
in the Senate chamber immediately prior to the bill’s passage in that.
“I want to thank Rep. Craig Williams for all his hard work helping get this bill out of the General Assembly and to the governor for his signature,” Quinn said.
Quinn noted and thanked the many stakeholders who participated in crafting Deana’s Law, including the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the PA State Police, PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, MADD, the PA DUI Association, PA Parents Against Impaired Driving, and PA State Troopers Association.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for their support of this legislation and thank the governor for his swift approval of Deana’s Law,” said Quinn. “For more than three years, the DeRosa family has lived with the pain of Deana’s death. This law will help ensure no family endures the immeasurable pain they have experienced.”
The law takes effect in 120 days.
Representative Chris Quinn
168th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
RepChrisQuinn.com / Facebook.com/RepChrisQuinn
Media Contact: John Kelemen