Houghtaling and Downey Introduce "Marissa's Law"

Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey introduced a bill known as “Marissa’s Law” in an effort to increase safety on New Jersey’s roadways and hold negligent drivers accountable.

The bill (A4487), introduced September 24, provides for a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury, except if the operator reports the accident. The bill also increases the mandatory minimum term for reckless vehicular homicide.

“Tragic accidents, like the one that claimed the life of Marissa Procopio, are entirely preventable,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “We were proud to introduce this bill increasing the severity of the consequences for fleeing the scene of a fatal or injury-causing accident and will continue to strive to hold negligent drivers accountable.”

“Reckless driving cannot and will not be tolerated on our roadways,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “We hope that by introducing this bill, we can deter drivers from leaving the scene of an accident, particularly one wherein another driver was killed or injured, and hold those accountable who do choose to commit the crime of leaving the scene.”

The bill is named for Marissa Procopio, an Atlantic Highlands resident who was fatally struck by a car on July 7, 2015.  The driver of the car fled the scene of the crime but was later apprehended, charged and was sentenced after entering a plea agreement.

Senator Vin Gopal introduced an identical bill in the Senate on Oct. 15.

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