Null

One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Between speeding, impairment and a lack of seat-belt usage, so much of the problem seems preventable. ABC15 Arizona is Taking Action to make our roads safer and save lives. Story idea? Call 833-AZROADS or email roads@abc15.com.

Governor Ducey signs 'Pam's Law' to increase penalties for serious crashes

PHOENIX - Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill late Monday afternoon that increases the penalties for car crashes involving serious injuries or death.

It's being referred to as "Pam's Law," named after a Valley mom Pamela Hesselbacher. 

Hesselbacher was killed while trying to cross the street with her two small children at Ray Road and College Avenue in Chandler back in November of 2016. Her two children had critical injuries. 

The driver, William Epperlein, says he didn't see the red light. 

Through what the governor calls "poorly drafted laws," Epperlein was able to walk away with a slap on the hand and served no prison time. Hesselbacher's family has been on a mission to change Arizona's laws since the 2016 crash. 

"What happened to Pamela wasn't right, but that should never stop us from making it right for others," said Jody Kieran, Pamela's mother.

Through Pam's Law, the loopholes and penalties are increased which kept Epperlein in the clear, despite having a suspended license and multiple prior DUI's. 

FULL SECTION: OPERATION SAFE ROADS

Pam's Law increases penalties for car crashes that cause serious physical injury or deaths. 

Courts will also be able to suspend driving privileges for 180 days instead of up to 90 days for violations that result in injury, and up to a year instead of 180 days for violations that result in death. It also increases a cap on restitution from $10,000 to $100,000. 

"A lot of people have asked me if this law is a vindication of my daughter's death and it's not," Kieran said while fighting back tears. "I'm doing what my daughter would expect."

Print this article Back to Top