Fallen Montgomery Officer Inspires Proposed State Law

Keith Houts loved being a police officer and those who knew him say he was a good one. But one thing always frustrated Officer Houts.  "This was one of Keith's pet peeves," said Houts' widow Ashley.

Ashley Houts says her husband thought people who ran from the law should get more than a slap on the wrist.  She says, "He hated that you would get into a chase and catch a person and that person wouldn't go to jail because it's a misdemeanor."

Now, a state representative wants to stiffen the penalty for people who try to elude an officer. State Representative Spencer Collier of Irvington proposed the Keith Houts Act. The bill would make it a felony to run from an officer.

Collier says, "It's one of the most dangerous things a law enforcement officer can do." A danger Collier knows; he's a former officer.

Collier tells us, "It's a crime that is leading to the death's of innocent citizens and police officers."

Ashley Houts still has many friends in the law enforcement community. She says this legislation could protect officers and keep other families from experiencing the loss the Houts family has endured. "Telling me they were going to change this law is an honor to our family and naming after Keith made our family proud," she said.

Officer Houts' Mother, Barbara, also said it was an honor to have this act named after her son and it's important to her family for the bill to pass.

Spencer Collier's new bill has already passed the House Judiciary Committee . Lawmakers will vote in February.