Conor’s Law requires new policy to ensure safety of impaired young people

Following the death of Conor Vesper, a 20-year old college student who committed suicide hours after his drunk driving arrest, legislation known as Conor’s Law was introduced in an attempt to save young lives by requiring law enforcement to develop policies to better care for intoxicated young people following an arrest.

By requiring law enforcement to create a more thoughtful and uniform policy to approach the arrest, care and release of individuals younger than 21 years of age who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Senate Bill 2185 seeks to reduce tragic incidents of self-harm, suicide and potential danger to others. One critical policy requirement will be mandating the arresting officer make a reasonable attempt to contact a responsible adult who is willing to take custody of the young person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"The passage and signing of Conor's Law has been a long and emotionally painful journey. We as a family, community and state are grateful for the passage of Conor's Law,” the Vesper family said. “It is our hope in the State of Illinois having this law in place to provide guidelines will protect and direct law enforcement in cases involving underage drinkers. We want to keep young people, communities and law enforcement officers safe.”

Vesper was the valedictorian of Staunton High School and an active campus leader at Blackburn College where he had earned a full ride scholarship. Vesper was released after posting bail following the DUI arrest. Tragically, he proceeded to drive home and take his own life. Blackburn College will memorialize Vesper with an honorary degree at Spring 2018 graduation.

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