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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Help take repeat offenders off the road

A year ago last month, 27-year old Colin Foote (right) was killed at the intersection of US One and West Beach Road by Laura Reale, a person who did not belong on the road. She ran the red light at West Beach at high speed and struck and killed Colin. Reale is a habitual bad driver with a long rap sheet for dangerous moving violations.

For her crime, she is now serving 8 years of a 10 year sentence at the ACI, but that will not bring Colin back.

Spearheaded by Rep. Donna Walsh, “Colin’s Law” was enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. Colin’s Law made it more likely that a habitual offender like Reale would be stripped of driving privileges.

Laura Reale, Colin's killer, pleads guilty
But over the months since, investigative reporting by Kate Bramson at the Providence Journal showed that some bad drivers were gaming the system to avoid detection and proper punishment. One gimmick that allowed Reale to avoid being taken off the road sooner was the trick of paying for tickets by mail ahead of the court date. That way, the violation is less likely to be examined and compared to the driver’s previous offenses that might trigger a suspension or worse.

Donna Walsh introduced new legislation this year that will require any driver with three tickets within a 12 month period to appear in court, and not simply mail in the payment. This bill has already passed the House by 67-4.

But now, the Senate version of the bill is stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and time is running out! The General Assembly is now rushing to end its session and without action on this bill in the next few days, it will die.

PLEASEsend an e-mail to the members of the Judiciary Committee (below) and urge them to approve Senate bill 605 (2011 S-0605) to help keep driving maniacs like Laura Reale off the road

Senate Committee on Judiciary
Senator Michael J. McCaffrey, Chairperson,
Senator Paul V. Jabour, Vice Chairperson,
Senator Erin P. Lynch, Secretary
Senator Maryellen Goodwin
Senator Dawson Tucker Hodgson
Senator Harold M. Metts
Senator Donna M. Nesselbush
Senator Rhoda E. Perry
Senator Glenford J. Shibley
Senator William A. Walaska