New Arizona law cracks down on hit-and-run drivers - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New Arizona law cracks down on hit-and-run drivers

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Joey Romero was killed in 2010 by hit-and-run driver. Joey Romero was killed in 2010 by hit-and-run driver.

It's a new Arizona law inspired by a Valley teenager killed walking home from work.

Joey's Law is designed to crack down on hit-and-run drivers.

Two years ago, Joey Romero, 18, was walking home from work along 83rd Avenue off Thunderbird Road, when a hit-and-run driver jumped the curb and ran the teen over.

The Centennial High School student died a couple days later.

"The spirit of happiness isn't there like it used to be," said Jesse Romero. "He was a lot of joy to the family and now something is missing."

Joey Romero's dad told CBS5 that he had a hard time coping with what happened, especially after hearing that the young woman who fled the scene after running his son over was looking at a possible plea deal and a one or two year prison sentence.

Jesse Romero vented his frustrations to a parent support group.

"I'm saying why doesn't somebody do something about this and why doesn't somebody make these laws tougher," said Jesse Romero. "I was so angry and they go, 'why don't you do it?' I said, 'yes, why don't I do it?'"

Romero contacted the city of Peoria and asked for help.

City officials then reached out to state lawmakers who created SB 1163, a bill designed to crackdown on hit-and-run drivers.

Earlier this year, Joey's Law was signed into law.

"We're excited about it," said Bo Larsen, with the city of Peoria. "Not just that we are able to help a citizen, but its an important law that'll make a difference ."

Joey's Law requires that any driver who fails to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury will automatically have their license suspended for five years.

If the accident results in death the license will be suspended for 10 years, not including jail time.

"If you get in an accident you just don't take off and leave somebody there to die," said Jesse Romero. "You need to stop and render assistance."

Gov. Jan Brewer will ceremonially recognize Joey's Law at Peoria City Hall on Wed. Dec. 12 at 9am.

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