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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leandra's Law

Lenny Rosado speaks on Tuesday while DA Charles Hynes looks on

"Leandra's Law," which makes it a felony to drive drunk in the State of New York with a child in the car, will go into effect tomorrow. This past Tuesday at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, Lenny Rosado (the father of the little girl the law was named after) and other lawmakers and officials from New York held a press conference to mark the occasion. As the Coordinator of DWI Operations here at Bronx Community Solutions, I attended the press conference and was moved by both the courage of Mr. Rosado and the forcefulness that was displayed by the state officials.

The new law was sought after by Mr. Rosado, after his 11 year old daughter Leandra was killed in a horrific drunken driving accident this October. Leandra was in a station wagon with six other girls on her way to a slumber party, while the driver Carmen Huertas (whose own daughter was also in the car) sped along the highway and taunted the children about the possibility of crashing. They eventually did crash. Several of the children were seriously injured, but only Leandra lost her life.

In what Mr. Rosado described as a tribute to his little girl, the new law will go into effect tomorrow. The most publicized aspect of the law is the fact that it will be a felony to drive drunk with a child in the car. In addition, all convicted DWI offenders will now be mandated to install ignition interlocks in their cars. These interlocks will require the driver to pass a breathalyzer test in order for the car to start. The hope is that the people of the City will simply make the right decisions - and not get behind the wheel if they're under the influence. In the event that they do get behind the wheel, they're likely to pay for it with their freedom.

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