Missouri Teen Sentenced in Fatal Distracted Driving Accident
On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Friday, June 1, 2012
A Missouri law passed in 2009 restricts the use of cell phones while driving among young drivers. Specifically, drivers age 21 or under are not allowed to send or read text messages behind the wheel.
Many residents believe that the roads would be safer if a more comprehensive cell phone ban were enacted. Still, there is no question that teenage drivers and texting is a dangerous combination that can lead to a deadly car accident. A teen girl who recently pleaded guilty to violating the text message ban certainly learned that tragic lesson.
The girl, 16, was driving with a friend in Platte County the afternoon of Sept. 26. According to the friend, the girl was texting on her phone while driving, which took her attention from the road, as did loud music coming from the radio. The car began weaving along the road, drawing the attention of a woman driving with her granddaughter.
As the defendant’s car approached, the older driver tried to avoid her by swerving onto the grass next to the road. But the teen’s car also went off the road. The young driver did not even notice until her friend called out her name. By then it was too late.
The collision destroyed the victim’s car. She died at the scene.
On May 31, the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree involuntary manslaughter, third-degree assault, as well as the distracted driving law discussed above. The judge sentenced her to 48 hours in jail, 72 hours of house arrest, 300 community service and five years’ probation.
During the hearing, the girl apologized to the victim’s family. Her attorney said it was important that his client accept responsibility for her actions that day.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “Northland teen pleads guilty in texting-while-driving fatality,” Glenn E. Rice, May 31, 2012