Press conference for Craig J. Todeschini bill

The PBA participated in a Senate press conference today along with family members of Trooper Craig Todeschini, who was tragically killed April 23 in a Troop car accident while pursuing a motorcyclist driving recklessly in excess of 100 M.P.H. The press conference was in support of a proposed bill, named in honor of our fallen Trooper, which would increase penalties for violators who flee in a motor vehicle from a pursuing police officer. The PBA is in full support of this bill, the text of which is attached below, which would in some cases make fleeing from a police officer a felony. Below is also an article distributed by the Associated Press news service from the press conference.

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By MARK JOHNSON, Associated Press
Last updated: 5:16 p.m., Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ALBANY — The widow of a state trooper who died while pursuing a speeding motorcyclist urged state lawmakers on Tuesday to pass a law that would provide harsher penalties for people who flee from police.

The Republican-led state Senate approved the bill Tuesday.

The new law would be named after Trooper Craig Todeschini, 25, who died April 23 when he crashed into a tree while chasing a motorcyclist who was traveling at more than 100 mph through the small hamlet of Pompey, about 15 miles south of Syracuse.

Kristi Todeschini, the trooper’s widow, stood with her husband’s parents and her father to press for passage of the law that would make it a felony for someone to flee from an officer in a motor vehicle, punishable by up to 15 years in prison in cases of serious injury or death. Penalties would be less in cases involving minor injuries or no injuries. Currently, fleeing an officer is only a violation, said state Sen. John DeFrancisco.

"We have gone too far in justifying and making allowances for those who challenge authority figures in our society," said Kristi, who is nine months pregnant. "Let’s bring back the meaning of basic respect toward our community authority figures that has been lost over the years."

The bill has passed the Senate for several years, but has never passed the Democrat-led state Assembly.

"We constantly have a problem in the Assembly to get increased penalties for almost any crime," Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said. "Unfortunately our experience with the Assembly is they have a way of changing the legislation, creating a difference so nothing gets enacted into law."

Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said the Assembly is reviewing the bill.

Republican Assemblyman Jeff Brown is sponsoring a bill in his chamber that mirrors the Senate’s proposal. Another bill on the same issue has been introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Christensen.

The motorcyclist, James Carncross, 20, of Jamesville, has been charged him with aggravated second-degree manslaughter and aggravated criminally negligent homicide. Carncross remains in jail on a probation violation, Onondaga Assistant District Attorney Brian Lauri said.

Sponsors of the bill say while those who cause an officer’s death by fleeing could face manslaughter charges, it would be easier to convict them under the proposed law.

Links to text and other information on bill
Senate press conference with Kristi, Cindy and Jim Todeschini in attendance