Do Wyoming's vehicular homicide laws need to be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony?

The mother of a 13-year-old Cheyenne boy who was hit and killed by a car while he was using a crosswalk near McCormick Junior High School is working to get the charge of vehicular homicide upgraded to a felony under Wyoming law.

Janelle Jones is lobbying lawmakers to change that law after the driver who allegedly hit her son was charged with the misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide, a crime that carries a potential penalty of a $2000 fine and/or a year in jail. ''I was just outraged as a parent when I learned that our vehicular homicide law is only a misdemeanor offense" Jones said in an appearance on the ''Weekend In Wyoming'' program on KGAB radio on Saturday.

She recalled that her son was in a crosswalk when he was hit, obeying the law. She says that led her to research the vehicular homicide laws in surrounding states, and she found that is a felony in those states, although there is some variation in the penalties. Jones earlier this year testified before the Wyoming Legislature Joint Judiciary Committee on the issue. ''Something just seems really wrong with that" Jones said of the current laws. ''So I asked the judiciary committee to consider making this a felony offense."

Jones says she will be speaking with lawmakers on the issue again on Sept. 12 about possibly moving forward with a bill. Jones says it looks like the draft bill will focus on crosswalks and school zones.

Wyoming law currently does include a more serious charge of aggravated homicide by vehicle, which carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

So what do you think? Should vehicular homicide be a felony in Wyoming? Or do we need to keep the current laws in place?

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