‘Wade’s Law’ Would Heighten Penalties For Negligent Drivers In Serious Crashes

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Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation that would escalate penalties for a driver who is found guilty of a criminally negligent accident in which a person suffers a life-threatening injury.

What’s known as “Wade’s Law” is sponsored by State Senator Mary Beth Carozza of the Eastern Shore. She has introduced the package twice. Most recently it passed in the Senate but not in the House before it adjourned last year.

The bill would set an offense of “life threatening injury by motor vehicle or vessel as criminal negligence” with potential imprisonment of 18 months and / or a fine of $5,000. It’s named after Wade Pusey, a Worcester County road worker who was struck along with a colleague in 2016. Pusey survived but was severely injured. His co-worker Scott Tatterson was killed.

Prosecutors were only able to charge the criminally negligent driver with a motor vehicle citation carrying a maximum penalty of $500. Carozza said the measure would impose a more “just penalty” for such an offense that leaves a person paralyzed, maimed or with other life-threatening injuries.

The bill received a committee hearing Tuesday.