For Immediate Release: March 12, 2003
Senate Approves Bill To Beef Up Penalties For Overpass Attacks
Senator Daisy Lawler has won passage for a bill expanding penalties for throwing objects off overpasses and bridges onto moving vehicles or roadways. Senator Lawler said she wrote the legislation after being contacted by a constituent who was a victim of such an attack.
Duncan native Cindi Broaddus, sister-in-law of Dr. Phil McGraw of the "Dr. Phil" television program was on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike nearly two years ago with her boyfriend Jim Maxwell when a jar of sulfuric acid crashed through their windshield. Both suffered severe burns. Broaddus has undergone multiple surgeries as a result of her injuries.
Senate Bill 625 would expand existing law addressing the issue by including felony charges and fines for not only dropping objects on moving vehicles but on the roadway as well. Senator Lawler says that's because the latter could cause accidents but isn't addressed in the current law. In addition to the possible 10 years in prison already in the statutes, Senator Lawler's bill also adds a possible fine of up to $10,000.
"This was a violent, random act that changed the lives of Cindi and Jim. We need to have harsher penalties and we need to raise public awareness about such attacks," said Senator Lawler, D-Comanche. "I admire Cindi so much for sharing her story and helping educate the public about this type of crime. She is the inspiration for this legislation."
Broaddus was in the Senate Chamber when the measure was voted on. She said she is grateful for the Senate's action on the measure and Senator Lawler's efforts.
"In a split-second my life was changed forever. But it could have been a mom with a car full of kids that was attacked. It could have been anyone. I just want to do whatever I can to try to stop this from happening to anyone else," explained Broaddus.
SB 625 now moves to the House of Representatives for committee consideration.
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