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'They know they can get away with this': Parents, lawmakers sit down for conversation on hit-and-run problem in Kentucky

WHAS11 News connects families impacted by fatal hit and runs with state lawmakers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thirty-eight people were killed in the past year by drivers who failed to render aid, according to Kentucky State Police Data

That’s the most deaths in the last decade.

Here's the hit and run data from the past ten years using October 28 as the reference date:

2010-11 ➤ 14 killed     2011-12 ➤ 12 killed

2012-13 ➤ 8 killed       2013-14 ➤ 9 killed

2014-15 ➤ 25 killed     2015-16 ➤ 23 killed

2016-17 ➤ 25 killed     2017-18 ➤ 22 killed

2018-19 ➤ 19 killed     2019-20 ➤ 21 killed

              2020-2021 ➤ 38 killed

Credit: Tom Lally - WHAS11 News

WHAS11 News connected state lawmakers with parents who lost their children to hit and runs in the past year; Republican State Representative Kevin Bratcher and Democratic State Senator Morgan McGarvey.

Patricia Bishop and her mother Pam Logsdon lost Daniel Logsdon in November of 2020. He was hit crossing New Cut Road after work.

A few days after, Janet Heston lost her son on the same road.

Nearly a year later, no arrests have been made.

RELATED: Louisville mom demands new laws as city nears 1,000 hit-and-run incidents

Heston said, "The only way that these people are going to stop is if they know they are going to get caught."

Logsdon added, "If you don’t put some work into it, you get stuck in a pile somewhere and I am determined that is not going to happen to Daniel."

They say steeper penalties are a part of the solution. Right now in Kentucky, if someone is convicted for a fatal hit and run, they face a Class D Felony. That's 1-5 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Credit: Tom Lally - WHAS11 News

Is the issue about laws?

State Rep. Bratcher said the real issue may not be the laws. "It just seems like you can make the most stringent laws but they’re just not being enforced in all areas and I need to calm myself down because it starts making me angry."

State Sen. McGarvey asked, "Do you think a part of the reason that this isn’t being dealt with as quickly as it should is that it doesn’t rise to the same level as some of the other violent crimes just based on the stature?"

Bishop answered, "Hit and runs are not a priority."

Heston offered, "There is a bill that talks about traffic monitoring and speed monitoring, you’re probably familiar, via cameras.”

McGarvey replied, "I was going to ask if you thought that would help. Because Right now state law prohibits the city of Louisville from having traffic cameras and stoplight cameras."

The mothers asked why.

McGarvey asked, "Do you think it would help if state law did change so that Louisville could put in traffic cameras?”

Everyone answered with an emphatic "yes."

In the end, both lawmakers said they would help in the process, but new or stricter laws may not be the sole solution.

Bratcher added, "We have got to make sure that the executioners of the law, the executive branch, live up to its promise. And I know they’ve got problems. I know that there are financial issues at all levels of this state and country but there has got to be a way to get criminals prosecuted.”

McGarvey added, "We will work with you and we will do our best to make sure that the laws are protecting people and the funding is going to the right place. But on the execution side, there is only so much we can do.”

Each case here was handled by LMPD, a department that is woefully understaffed, impacting its enforcement.

Still, after a year of waiting and pushing and fighting, these families leave the conversation with something new.

Bishop said, "Now, I feel like a got a little hope.”

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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