Representative Syms commends enactment of Pam’s Law

Pam’s mom Jodi Kieran hugs Governor Doug Ducey with bill sponsor Representative Maria Syms and Director of Highway Safety, Alberto Gutier. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Santa Cruz)

Arizona Representative and Paradise Valley resident Maria Syms applauds the enactment of Pam’s Law, new legislation that aims to hold high-risk drivers accountable.

With Pam’s family and Bill sponsor Representative Maria Syms and Attorney General Mark Brnovich (Photo courtesy of Daniel Santa Cruz)

Pam’s Law, HB 2522, closes a loophole in Arizona law that prevented prosecutors from being able to file felony charges against a man driving on a suspended license after he ran a red light and killed a Chandler mother.

In 2016, Pamela Hesselbacher and her children were struck by a truck while walking across a crosswalk on their way home from the park. Her children suffered serious injuries, and Pamela was killed.

The driver had a suspended license for failure to maintain high-risk insurance. The driver was required to maintain high-risk insurance because he had a long history of driving violations, including several DUI charges. Despite his history, prosecutors could not file felony charges against the driver, according to a press release.

Representative Syms worked with Pamela’s family and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to introduce HB 2522. The new law permits prosecutors to bring felony charges against a driver who seriously injures or kills another person while committing a traffic violation and driving on a suspended license for failing to maintain high-risk insurance.

“As a mother and a legislator, it’s frustrating to see a loophole in state law that allows a high-risk driver with a suspended license to kill a mother and seriously injure her children and get off with just a misdemeanor,” said Rep. Syms in a prepared statement. “Thanks to Pam’s Law, if you’re a high-risk driver that gets behind the wheel with a suspended license, you will be held accountable under the law.”

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