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Bill proposes tracking hit-and-run drivers like kidnappers

A new bill is working its way through the state capitol to help investigators and the public search for hit-and-run drivers.
A Fresno man, Miguel Flores, turned himself into police and is now accused of causing a wreck and running over an innocent Fresno man late Sunday night.

Now, a new bill is working its way through the state capitol to help investigators and the public search for hit-and-run drivers.

The victim is still in the hospital in critical condition. The suspect is in jail after turning himself in Monday. But these cases are not always this cut and dry, so a proposed law hopes to change that.

Fresno police say the crash sent a father to the hospital after he shoved his daughter out of the way to save her life.

"She was saying 'daddy!' I mean so loud, it was like she was right next to me and we live quite far from here," said Katherine Arvalo, a witness.

Police say the driver responsible for the crash hit 90 miles an hour on Jensen Avenue. He ran from the scene after the impact. Investigators immediately began the search for him.

Now, a proposed law would give officers more help. AB 47 would create "yellow alerts," similar to Amber Alerts, with suspect hit-and-run driver information on the same electronic highway signs used for kidnappings.

"AB 47 is so narrowly crafted," said Los Angeles-based Assemblyman Mike Gatto, "it would only allow the police to access the hit-and-run system if the hit-and-run caused death of serious bodily injury and only if there's a description of the car and a partial license plate and only in the surrounding communities."

Gatto says this will help catch suspects much quicker than now. In Fresno last year 13 people died in hit-and-run crashes.

Drivers, so far, are mixed on this bill piggy backing on Amber Alerts. "I think it's a distraction for all the drivers, looking for too many things now," said Fresno resident Maciej Kopacz. "And the impact of it is decreased."

"I don't think it's a big distraction, it's just a little overhead thing," said Coarsegold resident Debbie Barthold. "And we all have to do our own part, you know."
This bill hits the Senate Public Safety Committee next week. If it eventually passes it could become law in 2015.

The victim in the crash is expected to survive his critical injuries.

Related Topics:
news politics bills hit and run crash crime crimetracker fresno county california Fresno Fresno - Southeast
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