Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 28, 2014

Andrew’s Law tabled

Bill continued to 2015 session; Family remains optimistic

RICHMOND, Va. — Andrew’s Law, SB 293, was tabled by the House Courts of Justice committee this week, temporarily bringing a close to efforts by the family of the late Trooper Andrew Fox who have been working to increase the penalties that reckless drivers face for killing or injuring emergency workers whose jobs require them to be on the state’s highways.

“We were very disappointed,” Julie Fox, mother of Trooper Andrew Fox, said. Trooper Fox died as a result of injuries he received on Oct. 5, 2012, when he was run over by a distracted driver. Trooper Fox, 27, was directing traffic at the time. “I really think it would have gone this time, but Delegate (David B.) Albo (R-Springfield) said he wouldn’t vote for it unless it included everyone.”

According to Mrs. Fox, the crime committee of the Courts of Justice committee had an impact study that suggested the all-inclusive bill would cost the state “upwards of $15 million,” a figure that would make the law cost prohibitive. “I really think that Del. Albo had that planned,” Julie Fox said.

“We’ll do it again next year,” she said. “I don’t know whether or not the new bill will include everyone or if it will be for emergency or Department of Highway personnel who have to be there because of their work.” She said that, as an example, if someone has a flat tire on the highway, they can remain in their vehicle until people who are trained to work in traffic situations can come to their assistance.

“They’re not trained,” Fox said. “The people you call to help you — law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters and VDOT employees — are trained to be in those situations.”

Julie Fox said that when State Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, learned on Wednesday afternoon, at very short notice, that the bill was about to be killed, he and Wayne Huggins from the Virginia State Police Association went to the committee and told committee members, “this enormous ($15 million) impact was ridiculous,” Fox said. She said the committee voted to continue the bill to next session so the crime commission could conduct a study. “This bill was not killed and that is the best news that came out of this day,” Fox said.

Fox expressed optimism in the bill’s success in 2015 with greater support in the House. “Our family wants to thank everyone who shared, emailed, called and came to support SB 293,” Julie Fox wrote in an email message. “You have not only helped spread the word about reckless driving that endangers the lives of emergency responders, but you have carried those of us who have a personal desire to see that another family never has to experience the devastating consequences of reckless driving as we have. We saw miracles happen when you got involved and it lifted us greatly through each day of this struggle.”

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

1
Text Only
Local News
National and World
Newspaper Deivery Routes Available
Sister Newspapers' News
Facebook
Local News Videos