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Stiffer hit-and-run crash penalties proposed

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Updated: 2/18 11:46 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Jo-Lee Manning was frustrated by the news of another hit and run crash in northeast Florida on Tuesday.

"Something has to be done to make people accountable," she said.

Manning's 15-year-old daughter Haley Smith was killed while walking last November. Since then, Manning has been working to change a law, that she said encourages people to drive away.

"They need to make it a stiffer penalty. Make them stay," she said.

Under current Florida law, if a drunken driver kills someone and stays at the scene they are charged with DUI manslaughter and sentenced to four years behind bars but if a driver leaves, there's no mandatory punishment at all.

"It's unjust that Florida's DUI offenders are incentivized to leave the scene of a crime," said Rep. Irv Slosberg during a meeting of the House Transportation and Safety subcommittee Tuesday afternoon, just before it moved to make those punishments equal.

Defense attorney Fred Gazaleh said lawmakers have good intentions, but isn't sure a new law will stop offenders.

"Sometimes they don't know what damage they've done, whether they've hurt somebody, and sometimes I think they don't care," he said.

But Manning does care. She's pushing for even stiffer penalties for all hit-and-run offenders, and said this is just the first step.

"Any progress is progress, but we'll keep working and trying for more," she said.

According to the state, there were 15,642 hit-and-run crashes in 2012.

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AaronCohenLaw - 2/19/2014 2:18 PM
0 Votes
For more info about the bill that's currently going through the committee process (referenced in this article), visit

AaronCohenLaw - 2/19/2014 2:15 PM
0 Votes
For more info about the bill that's currently going through the committee process (referenced in this article), visit

AaronCohenLaw - 2/19/2014 2:11 PM
0 Votes

AaronCohenLaw - 2/19/2014 2:07 PM
0 Votes
And according to FHP, in 2013 that number has gone up by 8%!

AaronCohenLaw - 2/19/2014 2:06 PM
0 Votes
*There were actually MANY more hit-and-run crashes in 2012, according to FL Highway Patrol-- 70,000 (not 15,642 as reported in the article above).

Old Dog - 2/19/2014 8:31 AM
0 Votes
Hit and run crashes are totally out of control and something does need to change so that convicted drivers are held accountable for their actions. When someone is injured or killed and the driver didn't stop and call for assistance then they should be charged with murder or attempted murder and should serve anywhere from 10 to 20 years in prison and there should also be an option to sentenced them to life in prison if they were impaired at the time of the incident. I personally don't understand how someone could do this to another human being but I guess the world is a different place, at least from the way I was raised.
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