A 20-year-old California woman is facing criminal charges after causing a fatal distracted driving motorcycle accident last April. Authorities say that the woman was texting and speeding when she hit a motorcycle with her pickup truck. The motorcycle was pushed over 330 feet and there is evidence that the woman did not brake before, during, or after the crash.
"It is clear her mindset, actions and behavior were reckless and carried out with a wanton disregard for human life," one police officer said.
Another officer said that the 20-year-old "drives like a maniac." The woman had two speeding convictions and another pending speeding case within the last four months.
The woman allegedly told officers that she was texting at the time of the crash but then changed her story once she heard that the motorcyclist had died. Evidence from the crash indicates that there was a partial text message draft to a person named "Nick" at the time of the crash. The driver claims not to know any people named Nick and that she is unaware how his number got into her phone. Officers are unconvinced by the driver's version of events and say that it is "highly likely" that she was texting when the accident happened.
There was also alcohol in the driver's system despite her not being of legal drinking age. She allegedly told officers that she drank half of a beer before the accident and that she planned to drink later in the evening with her friends.
Evidence suggests that the driver was also going well above the posted 45 mile speed limit. The driver said that she was traveling "around" the posted speed limit, but a study of the crash scene indicates that the driver was around 20 miles over the posted speed limit.
The driver pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and is out on $50,000 bail.
Source: The Bakersfield Californian, "Calif. Driver Prosecuted For Texting in Fatal Crash," Jason Kotowski, June 12, 2012