AUSTIN -- It is a day the family of Courtney Griffin will never forget. Early on May 27 Austin police say Gabrielle Nestande drove off in her black BMW after fatally striking Griffin. Now, the Griffin family says the punishment Nestande faces isn't harsh enough, but they're hoping to change the law itself.
Monday morning there were no shortage of hugs shared with Griffin family. Just moments earlier inside the 299th District Court, friends and family listened as the judge set a trial date.
"We're just glad that it's going to be moving forward," said Bart Griffin.
The father who lost his daughter keeps her memory close. It's hard to miss the button on his chest in memory of Courtney. Noticeably absent Monday was Gabrielle Nestande, the 25-year-old charged in Griffin's death.
"We think strongly that there are other charges that should be filed," explained Griffin. "That has not happened, may likely not happen."
Prosecutors said the reason is because of lack of evidence. Nestande is accused of leaving the scene and wasn't arrested until the next day. Her charge, failure to stop and render aid is a third degree felony.
Criminal defense attorney Sara Casey said in this case, prosecutors' options are limited.
"As far as prosecuting it past a third degree they can't because it's not allowed by law," said Casey. "Even in loss of life."
It's that element of the law Bart Griffin wants to change, upping the third degree felony to second in cases of death or serious injury. That would double the current maximum prison sentence for failure to stop from 10 years to 20.
Griffin said so far, meetings with lawmakers have been positive.
"I don't know how else to put it," he said. "We want to see justice done and it's important to us. We're going to be here through thick and thin, but we're ready to get it resolved."
Numbers released by APD show Griffin is far from the only victim in these circumstances. In the past five years, APD reports 72 fatalities in failing to stop and render aid, 33 of those for pedestrians.
Meanwhile, Nestande will have her day in court. The trial is set for September 17th.