Stack’s Hit-and-Run Bill Progresses with Committee Approval
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16, 2012 — State Sen. Mike Stack’s measure to improve protections from hit-and-run incidents received overwhelming approval from the Senate Transportation Committee today.
Senate Bill 782 would provide a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine for individuals who are convicted of knowingly leaving the scene of a car crash that results in the serious bodily injury of another motorist, passenger, and/or pedestrian. The mandatory minimum sentence and fine are increased to three years and $2,500 if a victim dies.
“Fleeing the scene of a crash is a cowardly act that deserves serious punishment. Pennsylvania needs to send a clear message that running away from a car crash is a terrible crime with stern consequences,” said Stack (D-Phila.). “My legislation provides a fitting punishment that will also make drivers everywhere think twice when they are involved in an accident.”
Stack, who has introduced this legislation several times over the years, said he is motivated after meeting Theresa Sautter, the mother of 2008 hit-and-run victim Marylee Otto, and Dolores Roberto, the mother of 2004 hit-and-run victim Peter Roberto, both from Northeast Philadelphia. The mothers spoke about their children’s deaths at a 2010 Senate Transportation Committee public hearing.
“No family should have to go through that torment of knowing their loved one was not only struck by a vehicle but then abandoned,” Stack said. “Every year, we get a little closer to this legislation passing, and today’s vote shows promise that we keep it moving closer to becoming law.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. With just two days left on the 2011-12 legislative calendar, it is unlikely that the measure will go much further in the state legislature. However, Stack said today’s committee approval demonstrates the Senate’s willingness to consider the measure, which the senator will reintroduce next year.