TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden which increases the penalties for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.
The legislation is named for Lawrence R. Skinner, Sr. of Millville (Cumberland County) and Michelle Margaritonda of Martinsville (Somerset County), both of whom were killed in hit and run car accidents.
“Leaving the scene of an accident is morally wrong – regardless of whether or not someone is injured. Leaving when a person is seriously injured could mean the difference between life and death in that by staying behind, the uninjured driver could call 911 or just help keep the injured person conscious until first responders arrive,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, a former Acting State Police Superintendent. “This legislation will work to encourage drivers to stay at the scene of an accident – they must be held accountable for their actions.”
Senator Madden’s bill, S-1418, upgrades the penalties for knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that results in death from a third degree crime to a second degree crime. The bill increases the penalties for knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury from a fourth degree crime to a crime of the third degree.
A fourth degree crime is punishable by up to eighteen months in prison and fines of up to $1,000. A crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years imprisonment, and fines of up to $15,000. A second degree crime is punishable by five to ten years imprisonment, and fines of up to $150,000.
This measure was approved by the full Senate on March 12.