Albany, N.Y.-- The Senate has approved legislation, sponsored by state Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira), making it a crime to leave the scene of a hunting accident.
Winner's legislation was prompted by the death of Steuben County resident Martin B. Franzen in a December 2001 hunting accident in Caton. It was originally sponsored by former state senator and current United States Congressman Randy Kuhl.
"This proposed law seeks to ensure that a similar tragedy won’t ever happen again to another family. It’s a worthwhile hunting safety measure that I hope will get some attention from the Assembly leadership this session," said Winner, noting that the Steuben County Legislature approved a resolution several years ago requesting that New York enact a law requiring that hunting accidents be reported. Winner's legislation has been approved by the Senate for the past two years, but has never been acted on by state Assembly leaders.
Winner’s proposal would create the following two new crimes for leaving the scene of a hunting accident knowing that an injury has occurred and without determining the extent of the injury, offering assistance and attempting to contact emergency aid:
> a class A misdemeanor for "leaving the scene of a hunting accident involving physical injury"; and
> a class D felony for "leaving the scene of a hunting accident involving serious physical injury." Physical injury is defined in law as "impairment of physical condition or substantial pain." Serious physical injury is defined as an injury which "creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ."
Winner's measure also requires that the accident be reported as soon as possible to an environmental conservation officer or police officer.
The legislation is currently in the Codes Committee in the Assembly. It must be approved by the Assembly and signed by Governor George Pataki before becoming law.