'Narrow' hit-and-run bill vetoed by Cuomo

The proposed law passed by the state Assembly and Senate would have increased the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.

The proposed law passed by the state Assembly and Senate would have increased the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. (12/12/15)

WOODBURY - A bill on hit-and-run penalties that was derided by Long Island's district attorneys as too narrow in its scope has been vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As News 12 has reported, the bill sought to toughen penalties for drivers who leave the scene of deadly crashes. It would have created a new felony and upped the penalty to 15 years in prison, instead of the current seven-year sentence.

But prosecutors said the bill was full of loopholes, including a provision that two or more people be seriously injured or killed.

Cuomo said the bill was "noble," but fell short.

Nassau DA Madeline Singas pointed to the state Assembly as the reason for the bill's failure. "My office worked tirelessly to get this hit-and-run bill amended into a useful statute and I am disappointed the Assembly would not allow the changes," she said in a statement. "Without the amendment, the governor was right to veto the bill. The bill was too narrow and it did not remove a driver’s incentive to flee."

Richard Mallow, executive director of New York MADD, agreed. Mallow said in a statement, "This bill did not accomplish anything of value. It would have blocked the creation of the needed C felony for 'simple' fatal leaving-the-scenes. This provision is needed because under the current law, there is an incentive to flee the scene and thwart a full investigation."

"The family members of hit-and-run victims working with us are grateful for the governor's veto and his support for legislation to make the punishment fit the crime," Suffolka DA Thomas Spota said in a statement.

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