SACRAMENTO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A bill to increase the maximum penalty in California for a driver involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash passed the State Assembly on Monday.
AB-582 was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 66-3. “Gavin’s Law” is named after Clovis Unified vice principal Gavin Gladding, who was struck and killed in a hit and run in 2018.
Susan Gladding, Gladding’s widow, was there for the vote.
“We felt pretty good about today, but now having finished this piece of it, it’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s great.”
Supporters of AB-582 say the law will close a loophole wherein someone drunk behind the wheel and involved in a fatal crash can face many more years in prison than those who leave the scene and sober up before being arrested.
“Although we may have some serious uphill climbs, I think there’s momentum here and an understanding from the leadership in both houses that the loophole can, should and ought to be closed,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).
Gladding was out jogging in 2018 when he was killed in a hit and run by an unlicensed driver: Rogelio Álvarez. Álvarez spent about a year in prison after being sentenced to three.
“Gavin’s Law” will now go to the State Senate. Its first hearing in Committee has not yet been scheduled.