Lawmaker Proposes Tougher Laws To Stop Ohio Street Racing

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Ohio lawmakers did not pass a street racing bill last legislative session, but backers hope results will change this time around.

Changes were made to last year’s effort in an attempt to get it passed.

Monica Durban said that her life changed forever when she was struck by alleged street racers along Interstate70 near Hilliard Rome Road.

Police said a speeding car equipped with nitrous oxide slid across the median and struck Durban.

“My life before this happened. I was about to get promoted at work,  six months away from graduating college, nine months from getting married, and in one second goodbye life,” said Durban.

The crash occurred on Jan. 28, 2008, and Durban was in a coma for six weeks.

“I had to learn how to walk again, talk again, eat again, being human again and that took years,” she said.

In an attempt to send a strong message to street racers, Democratic state Rep. Ted Celeste is calling for stiffer penalties to those who race on public roadways.
“Street racing is not safe and innocent people get hurt,” said Celeste.

Under House Bill 272, convicted street racers would lose their license for a year and have their cars taken away.

The bill would create the offense of street racing manslaughter, a felony if drugs or alcohol are found.

But Durban’s father said what he's most excited about is that the bill would punish anyone involved in street racing, not just the drivers.

“It's not my goal that people that people be punished, it's my goal that street racing be discouraged,” said Lee Durban.

That includes discouraging the sale of nitrous oxide to street racers.
Under the bill, it would be a fifth-degree felony if the engine boosting chemical is hooked up to a car.

“It would mean the world to me if this would become law,” said Monica Durban.

She hopes the law may prevent another person from suffering as she has just because someone felt the need to speed.

In Durban's case, the driver who hit her died, and the other driver was acquitted of the charges because prosecutors failed to prove that the other driver caused the crash. Police said they couldn't prove the two were racing at the time of the crash.

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