I am disgusted by the sentences and plea agreements being handed down in hit-and-run crimes ["1 year, and out of jail," News, Feb. 12]. Leaving the scene of an accident that caused serious injury or death is a Class D felony in New York State, and too often there is little jail time, if any at all, when these criminals are sentenced.

The maximum prison sentence is 7 years for this crime, when the families have to endure a lifetime of misery after losing a loved one in these horrible "accidents." I know this too well; my son, Thomas C. Wik Jr., was killed Sept. 29, 2012, in a hit-and-run ["Not-guilty plea in fatal car accident," News, Feb. 15, 2013].

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Most of the time, people leave the scene of a hit-and-run because they were doing something wrong. Why else would they not stop and help the person they hit?

If the person stays at the scene and is charged with driving while intoxicated, the penalty is harsher than turning yourself in later after sobering up. In essence, there is an incentive for leaving someone to die alone on the side of a road. This has to stop!

We families have to come together and put pressure on our politicians to get these laws changed and sentences increased to 15 years. We need to pressure judges, too, to hand down the maximum sentences.

Joanne Piotrowski-Wik, Nesconset