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Texas Bills To Increase Penalty For Hit And Run Crashes
Two similar bills have been filed in the Texas House and Senate to increase the penalties for people who fail to stop and render aid.
HB 72 was filed by State Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress and SB 275 was filed by State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
Both have been referred to the Criminal Jurisprudence committee.
Last year Austin had 12 fatalities where the driver did not stop and render aid.
The year before that in May 2011, Gabrielle Nestande was involved in a hit and run accident that killed 30-year-old Courtney Griffin.
Nestande’s case has shined light on the penalties of leaving the scene of a crash. In February she was sentenced to 10 years probation and a $10,000 fine.
Fletcher is a retired police officer and says it happens all too often.
“It's not morally correct, but cost effective for someone to failure to stop and render aid,” said Fletcher.
His bill would increase the penalty from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd degree felony if someone lost their life and a person did not render aid. This would increase the jail time to up to 20 years.
Watson’s bill is similar.
“It seems like barely a week goes by that we don't see another situation where a person has failed to stop and render aid and it's resulted in a death,” said Watson.
Both lawmakers are pushing for their bills and believe they will pass through the committee to go to the floor for a vote.
By Christie Post