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Hit-and-Run Boating Death Leads to Call for Tougher New Jersey Laws

Anthony DiGilio was recently found not guilty of vehicular homicide in a boating accident that killed Robert Post in 2008 on the Metedeconk River in Brick, New Jersey.

DeGilio, who was then 29, did not stop after hitting the 17-foot Boston Whaler piloted by Post, 49. He came forward only hours later, represented by a lawyer, to tell local authorities that he might have hit something with his 27-foot Imperial performance boat.

He was never charged with leaving the scene of the accident but rather with the more serious charge of vehicular homicide.

In New Jersey, leaving the scene of a boating accident is a minor offense subject to a fine of only $25. In other states the offense can lead to years of prison time.

Leaving the scene of a fatal auto accident in New Jersey is a third degree felony punishable by three to five years imprisonment.

New Jersey State Senator James Holzapfel (R-Ocean) has repeatedly proposed bills that would make the penalty for leaving the scene of a boating accident the same as the penalty for leaving the scene of a land vehicle accident.

Under the latest version of the bill,

Whenever any vessel ...is involved in an accident 10 upon the waters of this State, and the operator of that vessel knows 11 he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident under circumstances that violate the provisions of section 13 11 of P.L.1962, c.73 ..., that operator shall be guilty of a crime of the second degree if the accident results in the death of another person, and shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person. Any person who shall violate this subsection shall be fined not less than $200 or more than $400, or be imprisoned for a period of not more than 30 days, or both, for the first offense, and for a subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than $400 or more than $600, or be imprisoned for a period of not less than 30 days or more than 90 days, or both.

This is essentially the same punishment as for leaving the scene of an auto accident.

The DiGilio verdict has led to increased interest in the bill, and friends of the Post family have started an online petition to strengthen New Jersey's accident reporting laws.

If you've been involved in a vehicle accident, whether on the water or on land, contact an experienced personal injury law attorney at the New Jersey Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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