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Husband's death spurs push for Ruby's Law

Jim Hoffer has the investigation.
November 25, 2013 3:01:36 PM PST
More than half of all fatal accidents involve a driver who tested positive for alcohol or drugs. That's why New Jersey and Connecticut require automatic blood testing in deadly accidents. It's not mandatory in New York. That is likely to change because of the inexhaustible efforts of one widow.

On the night of September 22nd 2012, Denise Baum's world changed.

"I looked around and there was my husband (pinned under the car," she said.

Her husband Ruby had been struck and killed on Manhattan's Eastside by Jared Saperstein. Although the accident report blames Saperstein for "losing control" after ''failing to stop for traffic," he was never charged with any traffic violation. But even more questionable in Denise Baum's eyes, Saperstein was never tested for drugs even though marijuana and ecstasy were found in his car. He was later charged with possession and pled guilty.

"They did drop the ball. It's a whole travesty of justice that my husband is dead and there was no blood test taken of this boy and therefore no consequences are going to be presented to him," Baum said.

Now, Baum spends endless hours calling state lawmakers gathering support for Ruby's Law named after her husband. The measure calls for mandatory testing for drugs and alcohol in any vehicle collision resulting in serious injury or death.

"That they must have a blood test taken to see if they were on drugs. And that is what I am imploring the politicians to do. That's the best I can do so that my husband doesn't die in vain," she said.

The State Senate passed Ruby's Law earlier this year, but it has gotten bogged down in the Assembly on issues of search and seizure and constitutionality.

"We don't want to pass a bill that is unconstitutional and just get struck down. We want to pass a bill that is constitutional and will pass the constitutional test," State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-New York) said.

Denise and Ruby met hailing a cab and that's how he died. She says she will not rest until the bill named for her husband is the law.

"To my dying breath, my last breath, I am going to get this law passed because there is no reason why it shouldn't be," Baum said.

The sponsor of Ruby's Law, Assemblyman Gabryszak, told us he's hopeful to get the measure passed in the upcoming session.

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