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Mom pushes for change after back to back hit-and-run crash

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Updated: 2/24 8:53 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Law enforcement in St. Johns County responded to the scene of two hit-and-run crashes in a matter of days. 

One happened Friday in St. Augustine, the other happened the very next day in Hastings. Both were deadly.

Jo-Lee Manning said the news made her relive the accident that took the life of her daughter, Haley Smith, three months ago.

"I don't know why it has become easy in our society to do the wrong thing and to justify anything. It seems like there has to be people helping them that know, that aren't coming forward," said Manning.

The driver who hit Smith is still on the loose.

Manning said hit-and-run accidents are becoming too common in St. Johns County.

According to Sgt. Catherine Payne, in the past six months deputies have investigated 123 hit-and-run cases.

"That number seems high but we're talking cases of minor accidents in parking lots," said Payne.

Of those 123 crashes, 12 involved possible injuries and two were fatal.

"To be such a small town, we are having a lot of hit-and-run accidents. We can change the laws and we can impose stiffer penalties, but we've got to catch them," said Manning.

Manning has started a petition to help get tougher penalties for those who leave the scene of a crash. In the meantime, her role is to be a voice to all victims.

A Facebook page titled "Justice for Haley" has already received more than 1,700 likes. Manning said she hopes to one day talk to her daughter's killer to find out why he or she would leave without helping her daughter and to get closure.

If you have any information, call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS.

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Realchange - 2/25/2014 12:15 AM
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While I feel for them. More laws IS NOT THE ANSWER. We already have enough laws on the books to cover this sorta thing. Go ahead and give up even more rights and watch in 10 years as the "new" laws are not enough and you lose yet again more rights. Hopefully the hit and run driver will be caught but don't forget police have been caught texting and driving resulting in deaths from hitting travelers. NO charges are allowed in those cases. Thank your lawmakers for that. Your family member can be killed by a distracted police officer, and there is nothing you can do about it.
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