The Georgia Senate has approved a bill dubbed “C.J.’s Law” that would increase the penalties for drivers that hit someone and fled the scene of the accident. It stems from a crash that happened over ten years ago, and hopes to prevent more drivers from leaving the scene of an accident.
It was in January of 2009 when Charlie Jones, nicknamed C.J. by family, was out walking in Cobb County. A car struck him and left the scene, leaving C.J. on the road hurt. Another vehicle, not seeing C.J. lying in the street, then hit him again. The second driver stopped, but that crash was the one that took C.J.’s life. If the first driver had stopped to offer help, C.J. may still be with his family today.
“If someone is drunk and kills someone while behind the wheel of a car, they face up to 15 years in prison,” says Scott Pryor of Scott A. Pryor, Attorney at Law. “Why do hit and run drivers, that show just as much disregard for the lives of others, face a minimum of only five years?”
That is what the law is looking to change. Currently, drivers involved in a hit and run face anywhere between one and five years in prison. The new law increases that maximum prison sentence to ten years. However, that is still only the maximum, meaning that some hit and run drivers could still face minimal sentences.
C.J.’s family is very hopeful for the bill, although it is not likely going to help them. In the decade that has passed since C.J.’s death, the driver that hit him and fled the scene has never been caught. C.J.’s family though, still hopes that the new law will bring much-needed justice to families searching for it.
It was in February that the bill passed through the Senate with overwhelming support. While 50 legislators were in support of the bill, there was only one that was against it. Now, it moves onto the House of Representatives, where it will also need majority approval. If it gets that, the bill moves to the governor’s office for his signature.