New law named for local firefighter will strengthen penalities for texting and driving

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A new law in Pennsylvania will strengthen penalties for some people caught texting and driving. The law is named for a firefighter from New Castle who was hit and killed in 2013 by a texting driver.

Five months before Michelle Gallatin got married, her father, Daniel, was killed. He was on his way to her house in May 2013 to help her with her garden.

"Not having a dad to walk me down the aisle, it was a really difficult day," Gallatin said. "The happiest day of my life and also one of the saddest."

Her father, who was an off-duty firefighter, was about to turn into his daughter's driveway when a car hit his motorcycle from behind. He was thrown about 100 feet.

The driver who hit him, Laura Garguilo, only served 60 days in jail and seven months on work release and house arrest on manslaughter charges. For texting and driving, she only got a $50 fine.

"It's not sufficient," Gallatin said. "It's kind of a slap in the face."

Governor Tom Wolf is set to sign Daniel's Law, named after Gallatin. It increases the penalties for texting and driving incidents that lead to death or serious injury. Sentences for a deadly incident would be five years. Incidents involving serious injury would be two years in jail.

Michelle Gallatin told Channel 11 this new law will prevent other families going through what her family endured.

"Driving out of my driveway and driving back in, I see the place where she killed him, every single day," she said.

Wolf is signing the bill into law at Daniel Gallatin's old fire station in Scott Township.

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