Seven years ago this week, Endy Ekpanyaz, a father, a husband and a beloved Pearland police officer was killed in the line duty by a drunk driver. His wife was last raising their 2-year-old son on her own. Now, a new state law requires a person convicted of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support to the victim’s family.
“He was doing the job he wanted to do,” Lucy Lugo said.
On June 12, 2016, Lugo was surrounded by family preparing for her husbands 31st birthday.
“Four in the morning or so, I got a knock on the door,” she recalled.
It was Pearland police officers telling her, her husband and father to her 2-year-old son was killed in a wrong way crash while on the job.
“The world really did stop for me at that moment,” Lugo said.
But she had to keep going for her son.
“He was definitely affected by it,” she said.
She’s spent the last seven years watching him grow beside his father’s grave.
“It’s never going to be okay,” she said.
Amber Willemsen was sentenced to 32 years in prison for driving under the influence and killing Officer Ekpanyaz.
“I just have to figure out how to carry on a live a new normal because my life is never going to be the same,” Lugo said.
On June 2, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 393 into law. The law requires a person convicted of intoxication manslaughter to pay monthly child support payments to surviving children until they turn 18.
“I think it’s a wonderful bill,” Lugo said. “I think anything that opens the discussion.”
Though it doesn’t go into effect until September, the law requires the restitution be paid monthly and to the standard of living the child is accustomed to — if the person convicted is unable to make the payments while in prison, they would be required to pay the restitution once released.
“Now I’m starting to get to the mentality of it can’t be for nothing,” she said.