By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hit-and-run drivers who eventually get caught would face stiffer jail sentences under a bill passed by the state senate.
The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) seeks to increase the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident when a death, injury, or damage of property occurs.
Golden said his bill, which was approved by the senate on May 7, would deter drivers from leaving injured victims on the road. It would also facilitate police investigations, and enable timely chemical testing of a driver, he said.
Under the bill, drivers who flee from the scene of an accident where someone was killed would now face Class C felony, resulting in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The penalty for repeat hit-and-run drivers who cause property damage or personal injury, would be elevated from a Class E felony to a Class D felony. The bill increases the penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident without stopping and cause property damage from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony.
“Each day, it seems there is another reckless driver who injures or claims the life of an innocent victim and compounds that crime by leaving the scene of the accident. These criminals show a blatant disregard for human life and this bill increases the penalties to reflect the seriousness of their actions,” Golden said.
On May 4, a man allegedly fleeing police from an earlier hit-and-run caused a three-car wreck in Canarsie that killed a nine-year-old girl returning from church. Five people were also injured in that accident.
The next day, a man in Midwood was struck and critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.
In March 2013, a hit-and-run driver devastated the Williamsburg community when Nachman and Raizy Glauber were killed, and their baby, delivered by cesarean section, died a few days later.
The bill has been sent to the assembly for consideration.