Texas Senate Toughens Penalty For Leaving Accident Scene

AUSTIN (April 2, 2013)--The Texas Senate voted Tuesday to toughen the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident that caused an injury.

The measure by State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would make fleeing the scene of an accident a second-degree felony, the same as an intoxication manslaughter charge for hitting someone while driving under the influence.

Watson said that because leaving the scene of an accident was only a third-degree felony, some drunken drivers were driving away to avoid tougher punishments.

A recent accident involving a Capitol staff member that killed an Austin nanny brought attention to the disparity.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

If passed, a conviction for fleeing an accident that causes an injury could result in as much as 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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