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Bill Seeks To Give Pedestrians More Protections After No Charges In Man's Death On I-279

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Monday is three years ago to the day Scott Hirsh lost his life on the Parkway North to a driver who has never been charged, even though witnesses told police he was traveling at an estimated 65 mph and never hit the brakes when he crossed over two lanes and hit the defenseless motorist on the shoulder.

"Today is a good day and a bad day," said Cheryl Hirsh, his widow.

It's a day of painful memories to be sure, but out of their struggle, the Hirsh family has found an advocate in state Senator Pam Iovino, who is sponsoring legislation called "Scott's Law," providing penalties for drivers who hit pedestrians.

scott hirsh
Scott Hirsh (Photo Provided)

"They know they can't bring Scott back, but they asked for help in one way and that is to help another family not end up in the same situation," Iovino said.

After KDKA first reported on their plight, the Hirsh family met with District Attorney Stephen Zappala in January of 2019, asking that charges be filed. But since the driver had not been drinking, Zappala could find no statute with which to charge him.

But Scott's Law would give pedestrians the same protections as the state's Steer Clear Law affords emergency workers like police, EMS and PennDOT workers. Violators who do not give those people ample room can be fined and have their license suspended — even face jail time. Disabled motorists would be required to designate their safety zone as Hirsh did that day.

"He did everything right, everything right -- moved all the way over as safely as possible, blinkers on, set flares, set up orange safety cones," Iovino said.

Even though Scott Law cannot be applied retroactively in their case, the Hirsh Family is asking the legislature for swift passage of the bill so other families won't have to suffer in the aftermath of tragedies like theirs.

"No family should have to go through this. Me and my son Christian, we plug along every day knowing that Scott's watching over us and he's the one who gave us the strength to do this, knowing that this will benefit other lives," Cheryl Hirsh said.

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