Clovis · Fresno

Gavin’s Law heads to Assembly floor after second committee win

Gavin’s Law – or Assembly Bill 582 – is headed to the floor of the California State Assembly after another key victory on Thursday.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Thursday to send the bill to the chamber floor. Last week, the bill received another unanimous vote from the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

The bill, which raises the maximum sentence for hit-and-run drivers and closes a loophole exploited by such drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol, was inspired by the death of Clovis Unified vice principal Gavin Gladding.

Gladding was killed in a hit-and-run accident early in the morning of Sept. 16, 2018 while jogging on Friant Road near Fresno when 18-year-old Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla hit the educator with his truck.

Maravilla, who was driving with his girlfriend, fled the scene of the accident and had a relative repair dents to the vehicle. Five days after the accident, he turned himself in.

Ultimately, Maravilla was sentenced to three years imprisonment, one year less than the statutory maximum.

Gavin’s Law would increase the maximum penalty for hit-and-run drivers who kill victims from four years to six years imprisonment.

The bill was heard last March in the Assembly Public Safety Committee and faced a near-certain demise at the hands of Assembly Democrats. That is, until Gladding’s widow, Susan, delivered an impassioned plea for support of the bill.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.