Iowa Bill Could Make It A Crime to Not Report Serious Danger
"If you see something, say something", because you could soon get into much more trouble if you don't.
The death of Tiffin 15-year-old Noah Herring has brought about changes by the Iowa legislature to an existing bill that would close a loophole and make it a crime to "witness serious danger, and not report it". Herring drowned in Coralville Lake last April and several people who were present were later interviewed.
An investigation concluded, none of them reportedly called authorities for help immediately or with information on what had happened, nor where to find Noah.
There is actually no current law to require a call to 911 to report a person in distress, but if there were, his family believes it could have saved Noah's life. Because there isn't, the witnesses weren't charged with failure to report but did get hit with theft and criminal mischief charges.
Several Iowa senators huddled after one of them, Kevin Kinney of Oxford talked to the family of Noah Herring, and said the bill being discussed would "close the loophole that allows people to avoid accountability for not calling the authorities when seeing someone who's in serious danger", according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
According to the Press-Citizen, it would make failing to call emergency responders an aggravated misdemeanor.
Herring's family spoke, saying that while changes to the bill will not bring back Noah, they are pleased the changes are being considered as it would help other families and individuals facing similar circumstances in the future.
While the passing of this bill will not change the outcome of Noah’s death, it will create consequences for any tragedy like this that happens in the future. It’s sickening to think that Noah’s items (phone, clothing and wallet) were more protected by the law than his body and life were.
Our condolences to Noah's family and friends.