I-390 death prompts law-change proposal

Following the death of Geneseo student Kaitlin Charity in October, the Livingston County sheriff has proposed changes to an existing New York State law which would mandate drivers involved in all collisions pull over their vehicles to ensure that no person was injured.

None of three drivers who struck Charity on I-390 in the early morning hours of Oct. 1 checked to see what they had hit. A WHEC-TV article featured on MSNBC.com indicated that truck driver John Martarello knew he hit a person, but only reported hitting a deer to the police. Martarello has since been indicted on charges of leaving the scene of an accident and perjury and is awaiting trial.

Right now, drivers can easily deny hitting a person and wait for investigators to prove otherwise.

Livingston County Sheriff John York told WHEC that he thinks the drivers, "had an obligation to determine what they struck wasn't a human being. They took the time to check their vehicles, but didn't take the time to check what they struck."

One Geneseo student agreed with York's proposal.

Junior Chris DeFelice said that people have ethical responsibilities when they are in an accident. He questioned how a person could continue driving if they had even the slightest feeling of unease about what they hit.

Others, however, believe the law would be ineffective.

"It would be very hard to force people to stop and see what they hit," said sophomore Jackie Davey. "Some people don't feel the need to stop. Others are more worried about themselves in such a scenario, but no matter what their feelings or reasoning, I still feel it would be difficult to enforce such a law."

The proposed changes are currently being reviewed by legal counsel and may be submitted to the state legislature this year.

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