For those Franklin County residents who have been keeping up with the deadly texting while driving case in the eastern part of our state, a new twist has been announced. The 21-year-old driver who admitted that she was texting when she struck and killed a man who was taking his morning walk has entered a plea of no contest. Apparently having reached a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office, this means she will not face a jury trial after all. The family of the victim in the fatal accident made no comment after the hearing.
Back in August, the driver rejected a plea deal. That meant she was facing a jury trial, which could have led to serious jail time upon conviction. By entering her plea of no contest to a charge of vehicular homicide, she will now be sentenced sometime in January after a pre-sentence investigation. The charge against her carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
The victim's family is campaigning to prohibit texting while driving in Ohio. That legislation is currently before a committee in Columbus, though the committee's ruling remains uncertain. It is not known if the family will also bring a wrongful death suit against the driver.
Franklin County residents who are injured or killed through the negligent or willful actions of others often have legal options to pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit. While personal injury or wrongful death awards cannot turn back time, they can help families get through the often financially burdensome transition of moving on with their lives. As for this case, one can only hope that the family will eventually achieve some sense of solace after their tragic loss.
Source: wfmj.com, "Driver admits texting in fatal crash," Glenn Stevens, Dec. 13, 2011