Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC, conducted an investigation of the ever-growing problem that is hit-and-run accidents in our local areas.
Something dangerous is happening on our roads. In the last two and a half months, News10NBC counted six people killed in hit and run crashes in our community, including a 62-year-old grandmother and a 3-year-old toddler.
In just in one town alone, police counted 23 hit and run crashes since May first. News10NBC started asking questions Monday to find out what's going on.
The two latest happened on the weekend. New York State Police say an 11-year-old Amish girl in the Town of Rose in Wayne County was hurt when her buggy was hit by a car that took off.
And a mother and son in Canandaigua were hit by a car that, they say, backed up to hit them and then drove away.
"Right, approximately this area that he was hit," Michelle Martino said walking along Airport Road.
Martino and her son Cory were riding their bikes on Airport Road in Canandaigua on Saturday when they say a car drove past them and suddenly stopped.
"Put it in reverse and just started barreling towards us," Michelle said.
"It was very deliberate. He aimed right for us," Cory Martino said.
Cory Martino says the car hit him, knocked him off his bike and then took off. On Monday, News10NBC started tracking the number of hit and runs.
Here is a sample:
In March, Nilsa Rivera was killed when she was walking in the city and hit by an SUV.
In April, an off-duty Rochester Police officer was hurt in a hit and run in Penfield.
In May, James Garbach was killed when his motorcycle was hit on Lake Avenue in Rochester.
And in June, Rochester Police say 3-year-old Amir Pallet was killed by a hit a run driver. Police say Pallet was standing in his front yard.
Altogether, since mid-March, News10NBC has covered at least 13 serious hit and run crashes.
On I-490 today, the electronic message board told drivers "watch for pedestrians."
In Gates, the Police Chief counted two dozen hit and runs since May first.
Chief Jim Vanbrederode, Gates Police Department: "Clearly there's two main reasons why people flee an accident. Number one, they're under the influence of drugs or alcohol, number two they have a suspended driver's license."
Chief Vanbrederode is the head of the association for Monroe County police chiefs. He says victims, if they're not seriously hurt, can help solve the crime.
Chief Vanbrederode: "Again, what did that driver look like and what was the plate number in case they do take off?"
Vanbrederode says one of the reasons there are so many drivers with suspended licenses is because drivers who get a ticket can't afford to pay the fine.
Chief Vanbrederode: "Albany, over the past 10 years, has counted on traffic tickets issued by the police as a source of sustained funding for their budget. And it is absolutely absurd that a surcharge on a traffic ticket is $93 before we even get into the fine."
Except for the weekend's hit and run in Canandaigua, the drivers in all the other cases that News10NBC highlighted have been arrested.
News10NBC found out Monday that the state had an opportunity to make leaving the scene of an accident a felony.
In the 2013-2014 session, the State Senate passed Bill S2503. The State Assembly refused to vote on it.