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1/17/2018 State Representative Robert Nardolillo III will introduce legislation to increase the penalties for cases of hit and run accidents which result in death
State Representative Robert Nardolillo III (R District 28 – Coventry) will introduce legislation to increase the penalties for cases of hit and run accidents which result in death.

Rep. Nardolillo began work on the proposed bill after the mother of Matthew O'Gara, Barbara, came forward to talk about her son’s tragic death at the hands of a hit and run driver. Matthew was only 19 years old when he was struck by a snow plow in February of 2017 while walking down the road with a friend. The driver did not stop and sadly Matthew died of his injuries later that day. It took another two days for Coventry police to finally bring the man responsible to justice after pleas for him to come forward from Matthew’s family and friends went unanswered.

“We got a life sentence for the loss of my son” said Barbara.

This senseless loss of someone so young is appalling but, unfortunately, all too common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about 19 percent of all pedestrians killed in 2015 were victims of hit and run. This often leaves police without a suspect and families without closure.

“This is a serious crime and should be treated like one. The legislation that I will be introducing is about seeking justice for the families who have had their loved ones taken away by someone else’s negligent actions” stated Rep. Nardolillo.

“I hope that this new law will not only punish those who flee the scene of an accident but also encourage drivers to be more thoughtful of pedestrians while on the road” he added.

Under the current law, a person convicted of committing a hit and run resulting in death will face a minimum of two years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and have their license suspended for three years. Rep. Nardolillo’s bill would increase the minimum sentencing to five years, double the maximum fine allowed up to $20,000 and invalidate the person’s license for five years.

For more information, contact:
Joseph Golomboski, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903