NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Saturday was a bittersweet anniversary in New York, as it marked one full year since Leandra’s Law went into effect.
The bill, signed into law on Nov. 18, 2009, was named for a child killed while riding in the care of a drunk driver.
Leandra Rosado is the little girl who changed laws, even in death. A memorial outside the Chelsea apartment of Rosado’s family marked the one year anniversary of Leandra’s Law, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
“Yeah, today’s one year since the law went into effect,” Leandra’s father, Lenny Rosado, said.
Rosado lost his only child, but gained statewide recognition for his fight to stop drunk drivers from killing innocent children. He lobbied hard for the Passenger Protection Act, making it an automatic felony on the first offense of driving drunk with a child.
It’s how Leandra died.
“I just can’t comprehend how adults can put their children in harm’s way, being intoxicated,” Rosado said.
Leandra was killed in October 2009 on the Henry Hudson Parkway, in a car driven by Carmen Huertas, the mother of her best friend. Huertas flipped the car carrying herself and six children, and was convicted under Leandra’s Law for driving while intoxicated. She’s now serving 12 years in prison.
“The tragedy of that case focused so many people’s attention, appropriately, on vehicular crim, driving while intoxicated,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.
Vance announced Saturday that more than 660 drivers across New York have been arrested under Leandra’s Law.
“We have upped our resources in the vehicular crime area – it’s very important,” Vance said.
“It took a tragedy for us as a city, as a state, to wake up and realize that we needed tough laws,” Rosado said.
Rosado said every day without LEandra has been difficult, but he knows other children are safer, and drivers are now on notice.
In August, a new measure was added to Leandra’s Law, requiring anyone convicted of drunk driving to install a steering wheel lock on their car.