ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol is trying to raise awareness about hit-and-run crashes.
According to FHP, law enforcement officers statewide investigated nearly 77,000 hit-and-run crashes last year. Officials say those crashes injured 17,000 people and killed 168.
At a news conference Monday in Orlando, representatives from FHP, law enforcement officials and families of victims involved in hit-and-run crashes launched a campaign to raise awareness about the consequences of these kinds of traffic accidents.
"If you leave the scene of a crash that involves a death, you are looking at a penalty of up to $10,000 or 30 years in prison," FHP Capt. Mark Welch said. "If there are injuries, you are looking at a $5,000 fine or five years in prison. If there is property damage, you could face up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine."
FHP hopes that by highlighting the increased penalties, fewer people will leave the scene of a crash.
Kelsey Sluder died in February 2011 after 21-year-old Adam Allred hit and killed her. Allred left the scene of the accident but was caught later and sentenced in Sluder's death.
Sluder's mother, Linda Sluder, says if Allred had stayed, it would have been a better choice.
"No good can come of you leaving. Absolutely no good comes of you leaving," she said. "Even if he'd have gone a block and turned around and came back, it would have been different for him and for us. Not saying that necessarily Kelsey wouldn't have died eventually, but just the fact that he could have been a hero to our family because he would have tried to have helped. And that makes a difference. That makes a huge, huge difference."
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