Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 20, 2014

Va. legislators say House committee will hear Andrew’s Law bill

RICHMOND, Va. — The saga of Andrew’s Law inched a little closer to receiving a fair hearing in the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday. Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, and Delegate James W. “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell, were informed that the Criminal Law subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice will hear SB 293 on Monday.

“Even though the House Bill version (HB 1148) was never heard by a committee, Senator Puckett has fought hard to have his bill (SB 293) heard in the House courts committee and was notified that it will be heard on Monday,” Puckett’s legislative assistant, Jennifer R. Boyd stated in an email message.

“The family of Trooper Fox will be present to speak on behalf of the bill,” Boyd wrote. “Senator Puckett is very pleased with the cooperation of the House and feels this is the respectful thing to do for the family.”

Morefield also stated in an email that he is “pleased” that the bill has been assigned to the Criminal Law subcommittee of the full House Courts of Justice Committee.

“After working with members of the committee, they have agreed to hear the bill,” Morefield stated in an email message. “I commend the members of the committee by allowing a fair hearing of the bill.”

Trooper Andrew Fox, 27, a five-year veteran of the Virginia State Police, was a native of Tazewell, Va., graduate of Tazewell High School and member of the Town of Tazewell Police Department prior to entering the Virginia State Police Academy.

Fox was directing traffic leaving the Virginia State Fair on Oct. 5, 2012 at approximately 9:50 p.m. when the female driver of an 1992 Jeep Cherokee, Angelica Christine Valencia, 29, of Doswell, ran over him. Fox was wearing a reflective vest, and directing traffic with an illuminated baton when he was struck. He died as a result of the injuries he received.

Valencia pleaded no contest to reckless driving. She was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 12 months in jail, but the sentence was suspended. The Fox family worked with Puckett to craft the bill in order to make the existing law a felony in the hope that it will serve as a deterrent to other drivers, and also to protect law enforcement, emergency responders and highway workers as they perform their duties to serve the public.

The committee meets one half-hour after adjournment on Monday, Feb. 24.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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