Fresno · Highlight

With unanimous backing, Gavin’s Law moves forward

A key Assembly committee voted unanimously to approve a bill inspired by the death of a Clovis Unified vice principal that would close a loophole for hit-and-run drivers who injure or kill pedestrians or other vehicle drivers or passengers.

Tuesday afternoon, the Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 7-0 to approve Assembly Bill 582, dubbed “Gavin’s Law” after Valley native 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.

Gavin’s Law is authored by Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) along with Southern California Asms. Mike Gipson (D–Carson) and Eduardo Garcia (D–Coachella).

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing next week.

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.