A new law that makes drivers who flee police subject to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail got its first workout this past Friday when a Gerrardstown man was arrested after a chase on U.S. 11, 10 minutes after the law took effect. This law is a good first step toward stamping out this potentially fatal behavior.
Joseph Frederick Hess, 34, will face more than a year in jail, because he was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and because his car struck a utility pole. Under the new law, fleeing police while under the influence of alcohol hikes the possible jail time to five years, and causing property damage during a chase raises the possible fine to $3,000.
The law was sponsored by Del. Larry Faircloth, R-Berkeley County, in reaction to the death of Amanda Smailes, a 21-year-old Shepherd College student. Smailes was killed by a suspected drunken driver trying to outrun police.