Protect the Lives of Children on Playgrounds and in Parks! Help Change the Law!

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On July 30, 2018, immediately following a Recreation Program hosted by the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District in Huntington, West Virginia's "Flagship" Park, Ritter Park, two people that had overdosed on Heroin drove their car from the parking lot, over a curb and crashed into the light pole nearest the Playground! Dozens of Children were playing on and around the Playground, and just minutes before this happened, over 70 kids were lined up getting free Sno-Cones after the program ended. These children and their parents were victimized by this situation! Several parents and many children cried at the site of this crash and the realization that they could have been severely injured or killed by this out of control car and the overdosed driver. A 10-month-old Toddler was crawling in the grass less than 5 feet from the path of this car. A Mother of three sat on the grassy hillside watching her children play when her vigilance was interrupted by these drug addicts!  My three Grand-kids that were visiting from California for the week had been at the Park but left only 26 minutes before this happened. Children were traumatized and have told their parents they "Don't want to go to the Park because they're afraid!"  The driver that caused this mayhem at the beloved Playground was merely charged with two misdemeanors - reckless driving and DUI. The passenger, (her husband) was also charged with two misdemeanors, permitting DUI since it was also his car, and simple possession of Heroin charge. This is just wrong!! We need harsher penalties. We need stronger laws!!

We need to change the law to include our Parks, Playgrounds and open Public Green Spaces as Protected Property just as our schools are!!  On school property, if you possess a firearm  and commit a crime or are in possession of, using or overdosing on any type of Opioid, you are automatically committing a Felony Crime and such the penalties for these crimes are more severe than if you were not on School Property. We will fight for and encourage Lawmakers to include Parks, Playgrounds and Public Open Green Spaces in this law and consider these places "Protected" as well.  We need to send a message to the criminals that if you commit these crimes in our Parks that you will go to Prison. Endangering the lives of good people, children and families that are taking advantage of all the benefits a Public Park has to offer cannot be tolerated. Causing Trauma to these families that are bonding and having fun with their children as they work to improve their quality of life, should have criminal penalties! Creating the fear in a small child that would make that child declare to his parents that they never want to go to the Park again, should have long-term penalties. We have spoken with several of our State Legislators, a State Congressman, a State Senator and the Chief of Staff of the Governor's Office, and they all feel that a Bill to amend the existing law would not face opposition and that it makes perfect sense to include Parks, Playgrounds and Open Public Green space as "Protected Property". 

Please help us convince all of our Lawmakers to adopt and support the Bill that will protect the lives and safety of our children while playing on Playgrounds, while enjoying our Parks and while spending time on Open Public Green Space, just as they are protected on School Property!

Signing this petition will effect change that needs to happen and will confirm how you feel about human lives, the safety of our children and the value of a good family.

Thank you for your consideration and your support! I am very happy and relieved to report that only by the Grace of God that no innocent bystanders were injured or killed and that there was definitely a divine intervention that Monday afternoon!   We must do all we can to ensure this never happens again because in this Community, tagged as the Epicenter of the Opioid Epidemic, the chances that it could are high!  Thank you for your help! #ProtectOurKids #ProtectOurFamilies #ProtectOurParks

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