Lawmakers call for stricter penalties for hit and runs

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POINT PLEASANT — Local lawmakers are calling for tougher penalties to be imposed on those leaving the scene of an accident that causes serious injury to the victim.

Sen. Robert Singer and Assemblymen Sean Kean and Edward H. “Ned” Thomson, [all NJ-30] are drafting legislation aimed at establishing stricter consequences for leaving the scene of an accident that results in serious injuries, according to a press release.

The Aug. 22 announcement comes two weeks after a hit-and-run accident left 14-year-old Emma Mae, a borough resident, in critical condition.

“We were heartbroken to hear about this accident and the devastating injuries suffered by this young woman,” Sen. Singer said.

“This horrific incident and the actions by the driver underscore the need to impose strict penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an accident in which someone is seriously injured.”

When the Legislature meets again in September, the lawmakers said they will urge their colleagues to take up legislation to address the issue.

“Drivers who leave the scene of a serious accident should not escape harsh penalties for their actions,” Assemblyman Kean said

“A young girl was critically injured and the person responsible for causing these serious injuries should pay a steep price for their callous disregard for their victim.”

“It’s hard to comprehend the driver’s decision to run and hide while leaving this seriously injured young woman lying in the road,” Assemblyman Thomson added.

“In light of this devastating hit-and-run accident that nearly took this girl’s life, we are calling on the Senate and Assembly to act quickly to impose stronger penalties on drivers who choose to flee instead of remaining on the scene of an accident.”

According to borough police, around 10:31 p.m. Aug. 9, Emma Mae and some friends were biking along Route 88, around the area of Sunset Avenue, when she was struck by a vehicle resulting in injuries including head trauma and skull fractures and hematoma on the brain.

The driver continued on after the impact, carrying Emma Mae on the vehicle hood before she was thrown free and the vehicle left the scene.

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