The grief of Gavin Gladding's death is still fresh for his parents Gary and Rita Gladding.
Gavin, a vice principal of Clovis Unified elementary school was on a morning run on Friant Road in Northeast Fresno last September when he was hit by a pick-up truck. The man who hit him didn't stop and turned himself in five days later. Rogelio Maravilla was eventually charged with felony hit and run, manslaughter and other misdemeanor charges. Though police and the Gladding family believe Maravilla was driving drunk he couldn't be charged for DUI.
"There is a high preponderance that people who hit-and-run are under the influence, either drugs or alcohol. However, his lawyer turned himself in 5 days later. Which legally you can't prove anything," said Gary.
Under current law, if convicted only of hit-and-run the maximum penalty is up to 48 months in prison. Not enough says, Rita Gladding.
"Absolutely not. Somebody really needs to understand really what you are talking about here. You are talking about a loss of life. You are talking about the probability of a three to four-year sentence. It should be much, much more than that," said Rita.
Now lawmakers like Jim Patterson say they agree and are working to change things with 'Gavin's Law; a new bill. AB 582 would increase the penalties for hit and runs if someone is badly hurt or killed.
"Don't think you are just going to hit, run, kill and get away with it. We're going to close this big loophole in California Law. We are doing it not only for Gavin Gladding and his family but for all of the other families that will be tragically touched by this epidemic of hit-and-run. It is long pass due that hit-and-run carries a substantial penalty and that's what this bill does.,"said Assemblymen Jim Patterson.
"Justice has not been served here. Someone does not get left on the side of the road and just keep going and go back to live a normal life. There is no justice in that. We have to get this bill through, We have to get more justice," said Rita
"Our objective is for someone not to go through what we had to go through and if they do then the punishment is reasonable," said Gary.
Under Gavin's law hit and run drivers who hurt someone can face up to 6 years in prison and up to $10,000 and as for accidents that kill someone the driver can face up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.