Champaign County mom who lost son in crash urges next of kin registry

A Champaign County mother whose son’s death inspired a next of kin registry urged more Ohio drivers to sign up for the program that notifies family members after a bad crash.

The Money-Burge Act was named in part after Carmela Wiant’s son David Money. Ohio lawmakers approved it eight years ago, making it the first state to set up a registry of emergency contact information for drivers so their family members can be found quickly after a severe crash.

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Similar laws has since been passed around the country.

More than 1 million drivers are enrolled in Ohio but that’s only 11 percent of the possible participants.

Money, 23, died on Aug. 7, 2006, in Columbus after his car hydroplaned while he was coming home from work. Wiant was unable to say goodbye to her son because officers didn’t know how to reach the family.

With the help of Linda Wuestenberg, another mother who didn’t get to say goodbye to her child, the two got the Money-Burge Act signed into law in 2008.

Now the goal is to spread awareness, Wiant said.

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“When you are signed up, it absolutely works for the police officers to find your family,” she said.

People can sign up for the free program in person or online at

She believes many people haven’t signed up because some BMVs might not be informing drivers about it.

It’s also important to update information when moving or changing phone numbers, Wiant said.

Maj. Carl Hickey of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said the registry provides a major help after a crash.

“It can be really challenging to find out who the proper person is to notify and everyone’s family dynamic is different,” Hickey said. “Having immediate access to that information makes it that much easier for us and we can get back to investigating the crash.”

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