House supports McNamara’s bill raising penalty for causing crash involving emergency vehicles

Posted by: Adam Kern  | Thursday, January 30, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 29, 2020) – The House of Representatives today voted in support of State Rep. Wendy McNamara’s (R-Evansville) bill that provides that if a person fails to yield to an emergency vehicle, causing serious bodily injury or death the infraction rises to a level 6 felony.

“As our medics, firefighters and police officers are responding to an emergency, it is essential that drivers pay attention, slow down and safely move out of the way,” McNamara said. “These brave men and women lay everything on the line for our safety, and they need to be able to do their jobs without fear of being injured or killed.”

Former Evansville police officer Allen Gansman testified in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by McNamara, on the need for tougher penalties. In 2016, he was left with lifelong injuries when struck by a distracted driver while helping a stranded motorist on the side of the road. The car was traveling at over 50 miles per hour at the time of impact, which destroyed his right leg and left him with injuries from which he will never fully recover.

According to McNamara, it is difficult to prosecute offenders if there are no witnesses, but it is easy to prove something like an injury or death occurred.

“We need to do everything we can to encourage drivers to be aware of first responders, who by virtue of their jobs, are placed in dangerous situations every day,” McNamara said.

House Bill 1225 now moves to the Senate for consideration. To learn more, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76, 
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.