FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Mike Osegueda joined his family and the Gladding family in Sacramento on Tuesday to fight to bring Gavin’s Law back to life in the legislature.
The law is named after former Clovis Unified Vice Principal Gavin Gladding, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in 2018. The driver who killed him was sentenced to three years in prison but served just 14 months.
“I have no words to explain how it felt knowing that my husband was left alone on the side of the road and not knowing how long he had been there – was he awake, was he in pain, was he scared?” said Susan Gladding, Gavin’s wife.
The law – which passed almost unanimously through the assembly and fell one vote short in the Senate Public Safety Committee in 2020 – would make the punishment for leaving the scene of a deadly crash up to six years in prison, instead of the current four.
Proponents of the law say drivers who flee the scene are essentially rewarded for it in court, often receiving lighter sentences. For instance, if an intoxicated driver flees the scene of the accident and is later arrested, it can be tough for the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law.
“That just doesn’t feel like the scales of justice are weighed properly,” said Mike Osegueda.
Osegueda joins the fight to honor his sister Courtney, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in February 2021 as she was walking to her car in Oakland. She leaves behind a seven-year-old daughter. The driver who hit her has yet to be arrested.
“It’s just terrible to hit someone with your car and leave…not have the decency to check on them or hope that they’re okay – just leave them there to die. Our family is willing to do what we can to not only get justice for her, but other people in this situation,” Mike said.
The bill was passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
It will be heard sometime in the coming weeks in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.