I just read an article in today’s Seattle Times that I had to share here as it’s a stark reminder that distracted driving can kill.
Washington was one of the first states to enact a ban on texting or talking on a handheld cellphone while operating a moving vehicle. Under WA State law, drivers can be charged under one of three prongs: 1) Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; 2) in a reckless manner; or 3) with disregard for the safety of others. The Seattle Times article is about a WA resident charged under the third prong.
A Seattle resident allegedly tampered with her cell phone records, to hide her pattern of distracted driving. The woman was charged with vehicular homicide just last week. A King County prosecutor accused the woman of talking on her cellphone when she struck and killed an elderly pedestrian in February 2014. The police indicated that she altered phone records in an attempt to cover up her distracted-driving behavior.
Last year, on a clear and dry February afternoon, 78 year old Tze Kiu Ng stepped off a Metro bus at a bus stop in South Seattle. Mr. Ng was walking eastward at a marked crosswalk. A woman driving a minivan was stopped at a stop sign behind the bus. Ng had almost crossed the street when the woman accelerated across the intersection and rammed the van into him. The woman stayed in her vehicle for about five minutes, talking on her phone, the bus driver later told police.
The police easily ruled out speed and impairment. But the driver charged with vehicular homicide told officers she “never saw the pedestrian until the impact occurred.”
The day was cold, clear and sunny and there was nothing to obstruct her view of Ng, the charges say.
Although the defendant turned over some phone records, the formatting raised suspicions because of lack of information regarding the cellphone carrier.
I just hope plenty of people read this and share it with others. Too often I see drivers texting or yakking on their phones while driving. This type of distracted driving is just as lethal as drunk driving.
Two SKW clients’ tangled story about the wrongful death and murder of their father seem made for a TV movie. KING5 TV draws out the details in a recent segment. Learn more about Plaintiffs Jennifer Ralston and Caleb McMamara here. You’ll want to play the story several times to make sure you catch the twists and turns of this sad and bizarre tale of how Jennifer and Caleb lost their father. Check back often for updates.