BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It will be four years this July since Alix Rice, 18, was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Amherst. She was hit by a drunk driver. A proposed law named in her honor is still stalled in the New York State Assembly.
News 4 spoke with Richard Rice, Alix Rice’s father Tuesday evening. He says “Alix’s Law” needs to pass, not only because Alix deserves it, but because the Western New York community does too. He says, “This is a law that would benefit every single law abiding citizen in the state of New York. That’s why it seems so odd that no one has the fortitude to bring it on the floor of the Assembly.”
Richard Rice says he misses his daughter every day, and tells us Western New York needs this bill. “I feel her every moment of every day, it’s very difficult. She’s with me but I don’t get to feel those hugs every day. She could lift me clear up off the ground she was so athletic,” he says.
The Amherst teenager was killed by a drunk driver in 2011 while riding her longboard home from work. “Alix’s Law” was designed to close a legal- loophole that allowed drunk drivers to flee fatal hit-and run accident scenes by claiming they did not know they hit anything. The driver that hit and killed Alix did just that. He was later acquitted on the felony charge of leaving an accident.
Local Assemblywoman Angela Wozniak has been a supporter of this bill. She says, “We need to pass this law so we can implement severe penalties for those who choose to drive drunk. We want to prevent those from making a fatal decision like we saw with the tragedy with Alix Rice.” Even though the legislation has passed several times in the New York State Senate, it is stalled in the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Rice says his daughter was a crusader for doing the right thing. “The irony of the way she left this world and what happened since then; the fact that this bill isn’t passed. it is the right thing to do,” he says.
Current law only requires drivers to report an accident if they know it caused an injury or property damage. Assemblywoman Wozniak says she is hopeful this bill will be discussed before the end of the legislative session. But time is running out, the deadline is Wednesday at 4pm.