SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A bipartisan bill to close a loop-hole in the law that benefits DUI drivers who leave the scene of a crash is heading to the California State Assembly floor.
Gavin’s Law (AB 582), was approved unanimously Thursday morning in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, according to Alisha Gallon, spokeswoman for Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).
The law, named in honor Gavin Gladding, a vice-principal with Clovis Unified School District, who was out jogging in 2018 when he was killed in a hit and run by an unlicensed driver: Rogelio Álvarez. He spent about a year in prison after being sentenced to three.
“[Gladding] was a beloved educator, a prince of a husband, father, leader in our community and he was run over,” Patterson said.
“And instead of calling 911, trying to help him survive, this individual fled, stayed on the run, and as a result sobered up and was given a one year sentence.”
DUI drivers who get caught in a fatal crash can face many more years in prison than those who leave the scene and sober up. Gavin’s Law aims to close the gap and boost the maximum prison sentence for deadly hit and run drivers from four years to six.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson credits Susan Gladding’s tearful testimony last session for swaying lawmakers to move it forward.
“The finish line is in sight,” said Patterson.