Bill clears hurdle for Chandler mom killed while walking in crosswalk

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A bill that closes a loophole and makes the punishment harsher for drivers with a history of breaking traffic laws has moved forward.

Tuesday, the Arizona Senate Transportation and Technology Committee voted to move H.B. 2522, or “Pam’s Law,” out of committee.

“Pam’s Law” is named after Chandler mom Pamela Hesselbacher.

Chandler police said Hesselbacher was walking home from the park with her two young kids when a driver hit them.

[RELATED: Chandler PD releases name of mom killed crossing street with her 2 children]

That was back in November 2016. Investigators reported Hesselbacher and her kids were using a crosswalk.

The driver, identified as William Epperlein, was driving on a suspended license and has a history of breaking traffic laws, including DUI.

[RELATED: PD releases mug shot of suspect in deadly car-ped crash in Chandler]

Hesselbacher’s family thought his background would hurt him, but it didn’t.

The county attorney’s office chose not to prosecute him on felony charges due to a loophole in the law. Instead, he faced a misdemeanor charge.

"We're finding out that he gets a slap on the hand and we get a slap in the face. That's the only way I can put it,” said Jody Kieran, Hesselbacher’s mom, who described the penalties for littering harsher than what the suspect is facing.

She added, "It's unacceptable. My daughter's life is worth more than trash.”

Right now, the felony charge for hitting and killing someone while committing a moving violation can be placed with a driver with a revoked license. The felony charge doesn’t address a driver with a suspended license without high-risk insurance.

“Pam’s Law” would allow prosecutors to charge someone in Hesselbacher’s case with a felony. It won’t change her daughter’s case, but Kieran said it’ll help families in similar situations in the future.

Kieran is pleased “Pam’s Law” cleared Tuesday’s big hurdle, but knows there’s more to fight.

"We are very relieved we've gotten this far. When we started, people told us we were crazy to even try, so this is very exciting to get this far and we've got a ways to go still,” said Kieran.

The Arizona attorney general is in support of the bill.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Popular Stories
  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • Phoenix PD: Good Samaritan puts out car fire while woman trapped inside

    Phoenix PD: Good Samaritan puts out car fire while woman trapped inside

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 12:13 PM EDT2018-08-21 16:13:18 GMT
    The crash happened near 48th Street and Elliot Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)The crash happened near 48th Street and Elliot Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    The crash happened near 48th Street and Elliot Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)The crash happened near 48th Street and Elliot Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    A driver was likely saved by a Good Samaritan who put out a car fire after a bad rollover crash in Ahwatukee early Tuesday morning.

    More >

    A driver was likely saved by a Good Samaritan who put out a car fire after a bad rollover crash in Ahwatukee early Tuesday morning.

    More >
  • UPDATE: Police identify man, woman killed in small plane crash

    UPDATE: Police identify man, woman killed in small plane crash

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 12:12 PM EDT2018-08-21 16:12:11 GMT
    The pilot has been identified as 54-year-old, Theodore Rich and the passenger has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Carpenter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Facebook)The pilot has been identified as 54-year-old, Theodore Rich and the passenger has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Carpenter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Facebook)
    The pilot has been identified as 54-year-old, Theodore Rich and the passenger has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Carpenter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Facebook)The pilot has been identified as 54-year-old, Theodore Rich and the passenger has been identified as 49-year-old Elaine Carpenter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Facebook)

    The two victims in Monday morning's small plane crash have been identified.

    More >

    The two victims in Monday morning's small plane crash have been identified.

    More >
  • Art Institute of Phoenix to close down in December

    Art Institute of Phoenix to close down in December

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 12:11 PM EDT2018-08-21 16:11:04 GMT
    Students received an email letting them know that at the end of the year, the Art Institute of Phoenix will be closing its doors for good. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Students received an email letting them know that at the end of the year, the Art Institute of Phoenix will be closing its doors for good. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    Students received an email letting them know that at the end of the year, the Art Institute of Phoenix will be closing its doors for good. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Students received an email letting them know that at the end of the year, the Art Institute of Phoenix will be closing its doors for good. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    With unfinished degrees and a lot of questions, students at one Valley college are left scrambling wondering what to do next. For more than a month, students have heard rumors of their school closing. Then on Friday, it was made official.

    More >

    With unfinished degrees and a lot of questions, students at one Valley college are left scrambling wondering what to do next. For more than a month, students have heard rumors of their school closing. Then on Friday, it was made official.

    More >