A woman driving while using Facebook on her phone is currently being accused of negligent homicide in the death of an elderly woman.
Abby Sletten, 20, crashed into another car, killing 89-year-old Phyllis Gordon on a North Dakota highway. The woman driving was viewing Facebook photos while driving, causing distraction and recklessness. Sletten was driving 85 mph when she rear-ended Jennifer Meyers’s SUV.
Meyer was with her daughter and her grandmother when Sletten crashed into her. According to witnesses, the woman driving did not brake, possibly because she wasn’t looking at the road and was unaware of Meyer’s vehicle. Meyer’s grandmother was declared dead on the scene while her daughter was rushed to the hospital with injuries, although not life-threatening.
A search warrant was issued to search Sletten’s phone, which revealed that she was browsing Facebook when she crashed. Text messages were also sent by the woman driving. Sletten was then arrested on August 27.
“We do get behind vehicles and all of a sudden they’re weaving on the road,” Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker told CNN. “We do initiate a traffic stop and try to find out what’s going on. Texting and driving to me… is becoming a very serious problem.”
North Dakota has laws against texting and driving, which were enacted in 2011. The punishment is a $100 fine, but Crocker says that tougher laws are needed in order to curb violations. “We gotta have a reason for them to not text and drive,” the sheriff told KVLY / KXJB.
According to another report from The Inquisitr, a man used a cell-phone jammer to stop texting and driving, which could possibly be later implemented to prevent other accidents like this. However, the FCC only permits cell-phone jammers to be used by law enforcement, so he was fined $48,000.
“[T]here have been various press reports about commuters using cell phone jammers to create a ‘quiet zone’ on buses or trains. We caution consumers that it is against the law to use a cell or GPS jammer or any other type of device that blocks, jams, or interferes with authorized communications, as well as to import, advertise, sell, or ship such a device. The FCC Enforcement Bureau has a zero tolerance policy in this area and will take aggressive action against violators,” said the FCC.
Sletten appeared in Traill County District Court on Wednesday to face one count of negligent homicide. Her trial date is set for October 8. Bail was set at $5,000.
[Image via Police Handout]