A west Valley family is pushing for stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers after a loved one was killed crossing the street at Osborn Road and 78th Avenue.

Rozae “Lala” Gonzales was walking home with a friend on the night of July 17 when she was hit by a car while in a crosswalk. Court records say a witness followed the driver and watched him stop at a parking lot to check his Jeep for damage. Officers showed up shortly to make the arrest.

Lamar Ross Mays faces charges of manslaughter and failing to stay at the scene of a deadly accident.

Lala’s aunt, Stacy Ramon, has launched an online petition calling for hit-and-run drivers convicted in deadly accidents to serve at least 15 years in prison.

“He should really sit there and have time to think about what he's done,” says Ramon. “There's no amount of time or punishment that they can give him to heal us, our pain, but it felt like a disgrace to Lala's life, like she was just so much more than that. Vibrant, loving everything.”

“I’m angry because I won’t get to drive my daughter to her senior year. I'm angry because we won’t get to go prom shopping,” says Lala’s mother, Misty Martinez. “I don’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. I wake up every morning not know what the day's going to bring or how we'll make it through the day.”

Traffic safety advocacy group Red Means Stop says making Lala’s Law a reality will be difficult but not impossible. Executive Director Al Loveland says it will be important for Lala’s family to share their story repeatedly to help others understand how a deadly traffic incident can affect other families.

Loveland also suggests an aggressive social media campaign, learning from other grassroots advocacy groups, and contacting legislators.

The family encourages anyone who can help with their effort to email Stacy Ramon.

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