Law named for Chandler mom hit, killed while in crosswalk almost reality

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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

With Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature, a new law named for a Chandler woman who was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street with her children will go into effect to crack down on drivers who hit pedestrians.

House Bill 2522, known as Pam’s Law, has been passed by both the House and the Senate.

[RELATED: Bill clears hurdle for Chandler mom killed while walking in crosswalk]

It’s named for Pam Hesselbacher who died in November 2016. She was 31 years old.

“He broke something that will never be put back together,” Hesslebacher’s mom said of the man accused of running a red light and hitting her daughter and grandchildren. They were in a crosswalk, heading home from a park.

“He hit my daughter and her body went 130 feet,” Jody Kieran said.

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

The children, 3-year-old Ryan and 14-month-old Audrey, survived but were badly hurt.

“Ryan was on a bicycle,” Kieran explained. “Luckily he was wearing a helmet and that's the only thing that saved his life. And Audrey was in the stroller. … [She was] in a coma for three weeks."

William Epperlein, 40, was driving on a suspended license and did not have insurance. He also has a history of driving infractions, including a DUI. Because of a loophole in the law, however, he faces only misdemeanor charges in the case. No felonies. According to PamsRights.com, that means no jail time, just fines up to $2,000

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

“He was driving on a suspended license. Without insurance. In somebody's else vehicle that had a suspended license and no insurance,” Kieran said. “He ran a red light. He didn't even get out of the car to assist He didn't even call 911."

Hesselbacher’s family has championed a bill that closes loopholes in the law and toughens the penalties for people who drive on a suspended license – people like Epperlein.

His case is still making its way through the court system.

While Pam's Law won’t affect what happens to him, Hesselbacher’s family hopes it will mean justice for other families.

HB 2522 was sent to Ducey Thursday.


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