DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is now much tougher on hit-and-run drivers.
On Wednesday Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill increasing penalities for drivers who have been convicted in hit-and-run cases.
Under the new law, drivers who leave the scene of an accident face up to six years in jail — the same penalty that drunk drivers face. That’s more than twice the previous penalty.
The bill was initiated by the family of Timothy Albo, who was struck in October 2010 by a car driven by Brandon Mondragon in Denver near Coors Field. Albo was badly injured and still suffers from problems related to his brain injury.
After he fled and was captured, and eventually entered a plea deal in his case, Mondragon spent less time in jail than Albo spent in the hospital recovering.
The Albo family met the governor and witnessed the bill signing on Wednesday. Afterwards they gathered at a park in Thornton to discuss the significance of the day.
“There were so many accidents since my brother’s and accidents that continue to happen,” Melanie Casey, Albo’s sister, told CBS4. “It’s an important thing that we’ve got to change, and we did.”
“I’m so glad it’s going to help other victims and other people, maybe to stop the hit-and-run accidents and let them know the consequences they may face,” Cynthia Albo, Tim’s mother, said.
Timothy said he’s very happy that the law will be different now, and he has a message for any driver who causes an accident and injures someone else.
“If you hit somebody with your car, stop. If you don’t stop and make sure they are okay, you’re a menace,” he said.
RELATED: Timothy Albo Story & Video Archive