Some Chesterfield drivers could pay more for emergency response

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - If you cause a crash in Chesterfield County be prepared to pay for the emergency response.  That fine could increase by $100.  Supervisors will discuss raising the fee assigned to drivers responsible for certain traffic accidents.

If she could, Lorre Braddy would take back the night she got a DUI.

"It was raining that day and it was just a freak accident," said Braddy.

She says she was on prescribed pain killers. She was convicted and was just released from prison. Today she's still paying fines for her mistake.

"An additional $100 would really, really aggravate me," Braddy said.

Lorre is not in favor of the Virginia General Assembly's recent decision to allow localities to increase the reimbursement fee when emergency crews respond to a crash. The driver must be convicted of a DUI, reckless driving or leaving the scene of the crash.

The flat-fee covers the expenses incurred, like fuel and manpower, when police, fire or EMS respond to one of those accidents. If the county chooses, it can bill a driver by the minute. By law, the total can reach $1,000.

"Any fee that is accessed to a DUI offender is something that we think is a good fee, and it's something that sends a strong message: that the community doesn't accept drunk driving," said Chris Konschak with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

He says even though people already face steep fees for a DUI conviction they shouldn't get a break on paying Chesterfield back for the emergency response. If a person doesn't pay the fee their drivers license could be suspended.

Teresa Pubins says, that may make potential offenders think twice.

"You should definitely think about that. I'd be more concerned about the life I'm going to take possibly if I get behind the wheel," said Pubins.

This fee increase could generate an extra $100,000 for Chesterfield annually. If approved during a public hearing today the change will take effect Sunday, Aug. 1.

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