Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 27, 2014

Andrew’s Law moves to Senate Committee today

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

RICHMOND, Va. — Senate Bill 293 — a bill designed to make reckless driving causing death or injury of certain persons a class 6 felony — heads into the Virginia General Assembly’s Courts of Justice Committee today, one-half hour after the session ends for the day.

The family of Virginia State Trooper Andrew Fox, who was struck and killed by a motorist on Oct. 5, 2012, as he was directing traffic at the Virginia State Fair, worked with State Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, to develop a law that is intended to protect all law enforcement officers, state highway workers and emergency responders whose work requires them to be on or near the highways.

“There efforts are intended to provide a level of protection so that other families won’t have to go through what they went through after Andrew’s death,” Puckett said. The driver who struck and killed Trooper Fox pleaded no contest to a reckless driving charge and was given a 12-month suspended sentence and fined $1,000. Trooper Fox was 27 at the time of his death.

The Fox family calls the bill “Andrew’s Law.” Lauren Fox, Andrew’s sister, said, “The family hopes to show Virginia’s heroes (that) we care about their safety as they put their lives in danger to make our lives safer. We also hope to send a message to drivers to slow down when they see emergency lights and pay closer attention while driving on Virginia’s roads.”

After Puckett filed Andrew’s Law, it was assigned to the Senate Committee on Transportation where it was reported with amendments on Jan. 15, on a unanimous bipartisan vote of 14-0. On the same day, Andrew’s Bill was reported to Courts of Justice where it will be taken up today.

“I would like to ask anyone who can to join us in Richmond,” Lauren Fox said in an email message. “We desperately need people to stand with us in support of this bill. This bill has been largely advocated by the people, not lobbyists.

“Anyone who can make the trip needs to be there to continue to hold this bill up before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee with the expectation that it will pass,” Fox wrote.

Trooper Fox is survived by his wife, Virginia Martin Fox, his mother and father, Julie and David Fox, and his sister. Trooper Fox graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in February 2007, and was assigned to the Fairfax Division, before being moved to Division 4 in Wytheville, Va., where he was assigned at the time of his death.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com