Family takes Kari's Law fight to Austin - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Family takes Kari's Law fight to Austin

Kari Hunt (Source: Family) Kari Hunt (Source: Family)
Kylie Dunn with Brad Dunn, who is now in jail.(Source: Family) Kylie Dunn with Brad Dunn, who is now in jail.(Source: Family)

An East Texas family took their fight for direct 911 dialing in hotels and businesses to the state Capitol today.

For the last eight months we've been following Kari Rene Hunt's story. Kari was murdered in a Marshall motel room in December. Her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times, but she couldn't get help because the phone required a prefix of "9" to get an outside line.

Representatives from hotels, hotel associations, schools, and communication service providers all sat down to hear Hank Hunt tell his daughter's story Wednesday in Austin.

"When we got to the police station that night, my granddaughter looked at me and said 'I did what I was supposed to do, papa, but it didn't work," Hunt recalls.

He told them how heartbreaking it was for Kari's daughter to dial 9-1-1 over and over again, just like children are taught to do, but she never got the help she needed.

Even the New Jersey man who took Kari's story all the way to the FCC in Washington came to Austin to help educate people on the importance of direct 911 dialing.

Communications experts say any costs associated with reconfiguring hotel and business phones for direct 911 dialing should be as simple as a short service call and a $90 fee that many companies have already said they're willing to waive.

"It's a simple problem to fix, I mean, it really is and if they're not going to fix it, stop teaching it. We shouldn't have to reteach our children we need to reteach the adults and fix the problem," DaLonna Hunt, Kari's stepmother, said. "It needs to keep going until we can truly say it's done, we did it."

This month, the state of Illinois passed a universal 911 law that addresses these direct dialing issues. No Texas legislators have committed to taking up this issue in the next legislative session, which begins in 2015. However, the commission on state emergency communications here in Austin says they think they can solve the problem in Texas without having to go through the Capitol.

Brad Allen Dunn, Kari's estranged husband is charged with her murder.

Initially Dunn had a court date scheduled for this week, but we're told that's been moved to next year.

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