DENVER (CBS4) – Hit-and-run drivers would face tougher penalties under a bill at the state Capitol. Supporters want to fix a law they say can encourage the guilty driver to run.
Victims’ families hope the change would help bring justice to those who flee after hurting others.
Quinton Von Duyke’s mother understands he will never be back. What she doesn’t understand is how the driver who hit him could leave him to die.
“If you would have stayed would my son had lived?” Lisel Von Duyke said.
The 8-year-old was riding a go-cart when Sean Daniels hit him and fled. Had he stayed he likely would have been charged with vehicular homicide. Prosecutors suspected alcohol. Instead he was charged with a lesser crime — leaving the scene — and served just 2 years.
“I believe my son’s life is worth more than that,” Von Duyke said.
So did lawmakers who in 2009 passed Quinnie’s Law. Drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents where the victim dies now face up to 12 years in jail. But if the victim lives they face a maximum of 3 years.
Rep. Rhonda Fields says there’s still too much incentive to take off.
“When you hit-and-run there’s not any strong consequences associated with that crime,” Fields said.
Fields has introduced a bill that would increase jail time in serious injury hit-and-runs to up to 6 years.
There will still be drivers who run, but Von Duyke says at least now the law won’t reward them.
“It’s not a matter of money or what party is sponsoring this, it’s a matter of human life,” she said.