Stronger state load law not signed before rock killed boy
An Alaska woman says she's hopeful that Alaska law will change to include stiffer penalties for people who drive with unsecured loads -- although they weren't in effect Thursday, when an Eagle River child was killed by a stray rock on the Sterling Highway.
In 2015, Kelly Roy was driving on the Glenn Highway when her car was struck by a trash can that flew off the back of a truck. The can led to a crash that crushed Roy's car and left her with broken bones and a serious brain injury from which she is still recovering.
Roy said the driver sped away and was never found. She finds it hard to believe that person didn't realize the damage left in the truck's wake.
"I ask myself that, but then how do you not see everything come out of the back of your vehicle?" said Roy. "How do you not see a car roll four times behind you? I think that person just thought I was dead or didn't want to be responsible, and left me with the trash."
When Roy tried to seek some sort of compensation she was shocked to learn that what had happened to her wasn't even considered a crime. Instead, it was a violation, much like a traffic ticket, with a maximum penalty of $300.
In frustration, Roy took her case to lawmakers, who, in turn, passed Senate Bill 199. The bill makes it a misdemeanor to drive with an unsecured load. If someone is seriously injured the driver can face penalties of up to a year in jail and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. For unsecured loads that don't cause damage, fines can range from $2,500 to $300.
The bill was passed by the Legislature this year and is awaiting the governor's signature, but Roy said it can't come soon enough.
Meanwhile, Roy's been documenting unsecured loads on the highway every day and says there should be consequences.
"I just want the law to be there," she said. "I just want to know that if somebody else is hurt, the person responsible is responsible for that."
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