Aug 29, 2013 1:45 PM by Rachel Cole - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI - In two days, hit an run drivers will face double time behind bars if convicted. That's due to a new law that was passed with support from local law enforcement, legislative leaders and county officials. Now, victims of this horrific crime like, Christian Carrillo,17, are relieved to see justice taking a front seat in the community.
"It's a lot of people that get hit by cars and a lot of the people don't get arrested and the people that do only get 5-10 years max," Carrillo said.
Carrillo is lucky to be alive after a hit and run accident hospitalized him earlier this year. He says he's thankful that local officials including State Representative Abel Herrero who fought relentlessly to get a new bill passed. They hope the new bill will force drivers to think twice about leaving the scene of a hit and run accident.
"I'm happy now because the laws are greater, they get more time in jail, Carrillo said.
SB 275 will double the punishment for an offender, to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if convicted. The crime is now a 2nd degree felony increased from a 3rd degree felony which only held a max sentence of 10 years for a convicted offender.
Carrillo says the new law is the best way to bring justice to other victims and their families for what they have to go through.
"I feel bad for her and I feel bad for other people that the same thing happen to them," he added.
During Thursday's press conference, Carrillo wrapped his arms around Mary Encinia, who lost her daughter, Kim to a hit and run driver. Kim is one of two people who died this year as a result of these careless car wrecks.
"I was just about to start crying, I felt bad for her, I felt bad for myself," Carrillo said.
Officials say they will not tolerate a lack of compassion in our community. Beginning September 1st, officials add that hopefully reckless drivers will think twice before leaving a victim helpless if they've hit them.