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Senator Fuschillo, D.A. Rice, And Assemblyman Weisenberg Announce New Law To Charge Drunk Drivers Who Kill With Homicide

 

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg today announced that a new state law which creates the charges of aggravated vehicular homicide for drunk drivers who kill others and aggravated vehicular assault for drunk drivers who cause injuries, will go into effect on November 1st.

"This new law will give prosecutors in New York State the tools they need to appropriately charge drunk drivers who kill or injure others," said Senator Fuschillo (R, Merrick). "Just last week, yet another driver drove drunk on the wrong side of the highway, and killed an Amityville man coming home from work. Enough is enough. We need to end this epidemic of drunk driving. This new law is a giant step in the right direction."

District Attorney Rice, said, "I applaud the work of Senator Fuschillo, Assemblyman Weisenberg, and their legislative colleagues. This legislation will allow my administration to hold accountable those who make the deadly decision to drink and get behind the wheel. I look forward to continuing to work with both sides of the aisle to pass similar common sense legislation that will save lives on our roads."

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. introduced the legislation in the State Senate after the tragic deaths of seven-year-old Katie Flynn and 59-year-old limo driver Stanley Rabinowitz who were in a limousine when they were hit head-on by Martin Heidgen, a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the Meadowbrook Parkway on Long Island in 2005. District Attorney Rice’s administration successfully convicted Heidgen of murder in October of last year. Assemblyman Weisenberg (D, Long Beach) was the sponsor of the legislation in the Assembly.

According to Nassau County STOP-DWI there have been 12 alcohol-related fatalities so far in 2007 (through September 30) in Nassau County. In Suffolk so far this year, there have been 35 alcohol-related fatalities (through August 31) according to Suffolk County STOP-DWI.

Less than two weeks ago, another drunk driver, Franklin McPherson of Deer Park, allegedly hit a driver head on and killed him while driving on the wrong side of the Southern State Parkway.

Senator Fuschillo, District Attorney Rice, and Assemblyman Weisenberg were joined by Massapequa Park resident Joseph Dell'Anno, who lost his daughter Ginamarie in a drunk driving crash in 2004. Ginamarie Dell'Anno and Matthew Adduci were both killed when the car they were riding in crashed into a tree on the side of the Wantagh Parkway. The driver of the car, Anthony Raffio, was drinking and driving in excess of 100 miles per hour.

The new law creates the new crime of aggravated vehicular homicide, a class B felony with a penalty of up to 25 years in prison. This crime will apply to criminals who kill someone in a drunk or drugged driving crash and also have at least one of the following:

> BAC of .18 or higher;
> prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years;
> crash caused the death of more than one person;
> crash killed one person and severely injures another;
> offender was driving with a suspended or revoked license from any state.

The law also creates the new crime of aggravated vehicular assault, a class C felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. This crime will apply to drunk or drugged drivers who cause serious physical injury to another person and also have at least one of the following:

> BAC of .18 or higher;
> prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years;
> crash caused serious injury to more than one person;
> offender was driving with a suspended or revoked license from any state.

Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo (center) is joined by Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice (second right) and Massapequa Park resident Joseph Dell'Anno (right) in announcing a new state law that will allow prosecutors to charge drunk drivers who kill others with aggravated vehicular homicide.



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