Weprin pushes to pass ‘Alice’s Law’

Weprin pushes to pass ‘Alice’s Law’
Photo courtesy David Weprin
By Phil Corso

A Queens state Assemblyman’s efforts to crack down on staged car accidents kicked into high gear as the lawmaker prepared his final push before the current legislation session ends in June.

One decade ago, 71-year-old Queens grandmother Alice Ross died when her car crashed into a tree after being intentionally struck in a pre-meditated collision. In the years following her death, Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) helped draft a bill in her memory, dubbed Alice’s Law, to toughen up the penalties for staging accidents to commit insurance fraud.

Weprin stood on the steps of City Hall Sunday with driver-safety group New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud to urge Albany to make Alice’s Law a reality and save taxpayer money in the process.

“On the 10th anniversary of her death, I want to go to Alice’s family this year and finally be able to tell them this bill has become a law,” Weprin said. “We are incredibly close to getting this done, but we’re headed into the final month of this year’s legislative session and I’m urging everyone of the importance of making this bill a priority.”

The Assembly voted unanimously last year to pass Alice’s Law, but the state Senate did not put it to a vote before ending the session in 2012. With the Assembly’s blessing again this year, Weprin said he hoped to finally put the bill to a final vote before the session ends in late June.

“Thanks to the diligence of Assemblyman Weprin and his colleagues in the Senate, we came very close to making Alice’s Law a reality,” said David Schwartz, a spokesman for the anti-insurance fraud group, who has stood beside the assemblyman throughout his efforts to pass the bill. “For Alice’s family and the millions of drivers across the state, let this be the year that we send a message to criminals that New York will no longer tolerate this crime.”

Alice’s Law would close loopholes in no-fault insurance fraud throughout the state, Weprin said, by making staged car accidents a stand-alone crime. Under current law, staging a car crash is classified as a misdemeanor, but Weprin said his bill would create crime categories for the offense in the first, second and third degrees. Incidents would instead be classified as Class D felonies if another uninvolved party is injured, the bill said.

“We absolutely cannot go another year without putting a law in place to crack down on this crime,” Weprin said.

The driver responsible for Ross’ death was 25-year-old Waurd Demolaire, of Brooklyn, who was convicted of conspiracy and manslaughter in Queens Supreme Court Feb. 16, 2006. Police said Demolaire drove his car head-on into Ross, thrusting her car into a tree on Commonwealth Boulevard in Jamaica. His appeal was denied and he is now serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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