Tonawanda News — The New York State Senate passed legislation on Monday that its sponsor said would close a legal loophole for drivers who are intoxicated and leave the scene of an accident.
Sen. Patrick Gallivan, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation was in response to a drunken driving accident that killed a teenage girl in Amherst in 2011. Alix Rice was killed after being struck by Dr. James Corasanti while on her skateboard. Corasanti’s attorneys argued that he was not aware he had hit a person and he was acquitted on the felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
The current law only requires drivers to report an accident when they know or have reason to know the accident resulted in an injury or property damage. The bill has been named “Alix’s Law” and will now move on to the Assembly for a vote.
“Intoxicated drivers are arguably the most likely to flee the scene of an accident to avoid being caught driving under the influence, and due to their intoxication and diminished awareness, they are also the least likely to know if they have struck an object or a person,” Gallivan said. “This bill will close a dangerous loophole in the state’s vehicle and traffic law, and give prosecutors the tools necessary to ensure that intoxicated drivers are held accountable for the tragic outcomes of their actions.”
Under the so-called loophole, drunk drivers are able to flee the scene of an accident they caused and later claim they did not know any injury or damage occurred.