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Stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers

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Updated: 2/04 7:50 pm
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced support for legislation to stiffen penalties against hit-and-run drivers.

Current punishment for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident in Florida is less severe than DUI manslaughter.

Bondi announced Tuesday her support mandatory minimum sentences of four years in prison for anyone convicted of fleeing a fatal accident scene.

"Floridians deserve to feel safe when enjoying their communities, and this legislative proposal will crack down on all hit-and-runs," said Bondi.

Jo-Lee Manning, whose 15-year-old daughter, Haley Smith, was killed by a hit-and-run driver in St. Augustine last year, believes drunken drivers are encouraged to leave fatal accident scenes without this new law in place.

"I truly believe that the person who hit Haley had something else going on," said Manning.

Bondi was joined at a Tuesday news conference in Tallahassee by Florida lawmakers and the wife of Aaron Cohen, whose possibly drunken hit-and-run killer in South Florida, was sentenced to only two years behind bars while a fatal DUI would have required a minimum of four years. The bipartisan legislation has unanimously passed two Senate committees.

Smith's parents hope the bill is passed soon.

"I think that's the only way we are going to get this craziness to stop where people just leave the scene," said Manning.
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Old Dog - 2/5/2014 8:15 AM
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Four years is still too light, needs to be changed to ten years minimum or more.
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