A man accused of killing the parents of three young children in a drunk driving collision may be forced to pay child support. Patrick Conley, 42, was well over the legal limit when he smashed into a mailbox in Tennessee on Christmas Day. He then swerved into the other lane, crashing into the SUV carrying 33-year-old Dustin and Brittany Dillard and their three children, Preston, Pierce, and Pryor, reports Fox 28 Savannah.
Dustin and Brittany Dillard were pronounced dead at the scene, while their three young sons sustained serious injuries. Police noted a number of beer cans found at the scene and a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage” in Patrick Conley’s car.
Conley was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of assault by intoxication. He also faced traffic violations, open container violations, and probation violations. He pleaded not guilty to all charges during a court appearance on December 29.
A man named Charles, who witnessed the smash and attempted to save the kids, told The National Desk how terrifying the crash was. “I heard an explosion outside. My son, he came down to me and he said, ‘There [were] two vehicles that were flipped over on their top,’ and I went ahead and grabbed my jacket and I ran outside,'” he recalled. He said he had to use the butt of his gun to smash the window of the Dillards’ vehicle to get to the boys. However, he was unable to remove them and had to wait for emergency services.
If convicted, Patrick Conley may be ordered to pay child support to the Dillards’ sons. The Tennessee Senate passed a law in 2021 making it mandatory for drunk drivers who kill a parent to financially support their children. The payments would need to be made until all three boys are 18 years old.