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Long Island mom's 16-year quest to get Angelica's Law on the books becomes reality

Long Island mom's 16-year quest to get Angelica's Law on the books becomes reality
Long Island mom's 16-year quest to get Angelica's Law on the books becomes reality 02:26

NEW YORK -- A new law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul late Tuesday to make our roads safer was championed by a Long Island mother in memory of her daughter.

Angelica's Law makes it a felony to drive in New York state with five or more license suspensions.

CBS New York has been following this grieving mother's quest for years.

READ MOREAngelica's Law passes in New York Senate

It was a bittersweet victory for Dawn Nappi, 16 years in the making. She never stopped pushing for the law to make it a felony to drive with repeated license suspensions.

"I'm taking a tragedy and turning it into a positive, which is the only thing a grieving mother can do," Nappi said.

In 2008, Nappi's daughter, Angelica, was killed in crash with a driver who ran a red light after his license was suspended seven times. He faced only a misdemeanor.

Nappi worked for years to pass Angelica's Law -- to make it felony to drive with five or more suspensions instead of 10.

"This is a no-brainer," Nappi said previously. "The consequences are so lenient, it's ridiculous. I'm going to continue the fight."

And fight she did, standing up to lawmakers who wouldn't even explain their opposition.

"Maybe one of your loved ones has to be affected," Nappi said in 2018.

On Tuesday, Nappi was relieved to have fulfilled her vow.

"I was ready to throw the towel in, many times, and then I remembered the promise I made to my daughter when she was on life support, and I said I have to hang in there. My daughter's death will not be in vain," Nappi said.

CBS New York also pressed for answers over the year.

License suspensions can also stem from failure to pay taxes or child support. The new law will only count suspensions from moving violations.

And so, finally, the bill has becomes a law.

"It will make the roads much safer. It's going to allow law enforcement to actually crack down and get violators off the road," said state Sen. Dean Murray, a Republican who represents Patchogue.

In the end, it was a promise fulfilled to Angelica.

"You never mess with a warrior mom who is on a mission," Nappi said.

Nappi said the law is not perfect, adding it should be a felony to drive with one suspension. However, she said she'll take the win and hope it is a much greater deterrent. Stephen Catalano, who struck Angelica, served only four months.

Catalano could not be reached for comment.  

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