Drowning victim's family pushes 'Good Samaritan Law'

New rules could be on the way to require Floridians come to each other’s aid when in danger, or face charges. 

Kissimmee State Representative John Cortez introduced House Bill 147 known as the Duty to Assist Bill in the Florida Legislature. The bill would require people to act and, in the least, call for help when they see another person in danger in the state. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor charge.

"We have to do something. We are human beings: we have to go back and help people,” said Cortez, (D) Kissimmee. "You just gonna leave ‘em there and let ‘em die? I mean come on: make a phone call! Doesn't cost anything to make a phone call."

This is not the first attempt to pass a Good Samaritan bill in the state. Similar legislation has been tried in the past but failed to pass. 

Most recently, attempts were made following the drowning death of a Cocoa man in 2017. In that case, five teens recorded the drowning on video and could be heard mocking the man as he struggled, but none of the teens were charged with a crime as no state laws existed to require them to render aid.

This new attempt is inspired by Diane Hernadez’s grandson Adrian Diaz. Hernandez said Diaz died last fall when two people failed to render aid to him after a night of drinking left him in bad shape near University of Central Florida. Diaz would be discovered close to two days later, dead in a near-by retention pond.

"Somebody could have saved him and nobody did nothing,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez has gained more than 4000 signatures on a Change.org petition asking for a Good Samaritan Law.  She plans to bring those signatures to state lawmakers if the bill makes it to debate.