In hopes of preventing needless deaths along roadsides, the
Indiana House unanimously approved a bill that would require passengers of
vehicles to act and call police in life-or-death situations. It now heads to
Sponsored by Rep. Tim Neese, R-Elkhart, bill would require
passengers to help injured or trapped drivers and immediately report the incident
to law enforcement. All people involved in wrecks who are at least 15 years old
would be required to attempt to notify someone for aid. Failure to act could
result in up to 60 days in jail and as much as $500 in fines.
Neese is pursuing the effort in response to the death of
Thomas Hoopingarner in November 2005.
Hoopingarner, a 17-year-old, died after two passengers in
his vehicle left him trapped while the vehicle was inverted and underwater in a
pond in northern Indiana, The Associated
The two teenage passengers left him there without seeking
aid and did not report the wreck, The
Truth of Elkhart reported.
The case against the pair was closed a month later because
no laws in Indiana supported filing charges against the teens.
"It is unfortunate that we have to legislate common sense
and logic, but it has been proven some people would not even try to save a life
by calling the police, even anonymously," Neese said in a written statement.
The bill - HB1521 - is awaiting assignment to committee in