Bill clears hurdle for Chandler mom killed while walking in crosswalk

Posted: Updated:

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.