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Thread: Texting tragedy: Fatal-crash driver goes to court

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Texting tragedy: Fatal-crash driver goes to court

    Texting tragedy: Fatal-crash driver goes to court


    Calli Murray, who was killed by a car while crossing a street in Rohnert Park with her mother in 2010.


    Kaitlyn Dunaway, 18 years old, stands in front of the judge in a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge case, Thursday May 19, 2011, at the Sonoma County Superior Court House in Santa Rosa, Calif. She was allegedly texting while driving and ran over and killed 2-year-old Calli Murray in Rohnert Park , December 1, 2010.

    (05-19) 11:37 PDT SANTA ROSA -- Calli Murray, 2, was holding her mother's hand as the two crossed a Rohnert Park street on their way home from a park on a December evening. Sonoma State University freshman Kaitlyn Dunaway was driving along Snyder Lane, allegedly paying attention not to the road but to her texting.

    The results were tragically predictable, prosecutors say, and an example of the dangers of one of the most insidious forms of distracted driving. As the 18-year-old Dunaway texted, her Honda slammed into Calli and Ling Murray, killing the girl and badly injuring her mother, authorities say.

    Dunaway, 18, who graduated from Petaluma High School, made her first appearance today in Sonoma County Superior Court on a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. She did not enter a plea as her attorney asked that the case be continued to June 16.

    She declined to comment outside court while accompanied by her mother, Sandy Dunaway.

    Sitting in the gallery of the Santa Rosa courtroom was Calli's father, Jeff Murray, 47, who said Kaitlyn Dunaway hasn't approached him or his family since the Dec. 1 crash. Even if she did, he said, neither he nor his wife would be ready. The pain over the loss of Calli - born on Christmas Day 2007 - is too fresh.

    Calli was a "happy-go-lucky girl," her father said. "She spoke fluent Chinese and fluent English at 2 years old. Always full of energy, always full of life. She just brought joy to us."

    Ling Murray, 40, suffered a broken leg, a shattered pelvis and broken arm in the crash. She spent a month at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and was at a Petaluma rehabilitation center until March.

    Dunaway faces a maximum of one year in jail if she is convicted. Jeff Murray said he understood why prosecutors couldn't seek more.

    "We can't beat the law - the law is the law, so we can't be sitting here being angry at the law and all this stuff that's going on, we just need to fix it," he said. "That's where our motivation comes, so if it does happen in the future, then the next family will get justice out of it."

    He added, "We feel the loss of Calli, yes, but as far as the anger and stuff, I'm not going to sit here and say I'm angry or pissed off at this, because it's happened. I can't go back and change it. So we just have to let the courts do what they do, and we can try to fix the law."

    District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Dunaway had been texting, driving at a speed that was unsafe for the conditions and had failed to yield to Calli and her mother - all unlawful acts that do not amount to felonies. That led to the decision to charge her with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

    Dunaway has a 2009 conviction for riding in part of a vehicle that is not designed to carry passengers, state Department of Motor Vehicles records show.

    Her attorney, Chris Andrian said prosecutors had applied the law correctly and that his client is a "good young girl. She's an absolute sweetheart. She is remorseful and just devastated as anybody could possibly be.

    "And yet," Andrian said, "she is also a young person. We've made all this technology available."

    He added, "Assuming that texting had something to do with it - and I don't know 100 percent, but let's assume that it did - hopefully what you learn from this case is, this is one of those things that is used to educate the public and make the public more aware of the danger of it."

    To Jeff Murray, the message is simple: "Distracted driving kills. I had a shirt made with that on there. It's not worth it. Put your phone down. And my wife said it best. She said, 'When the driver is safe, then the people are safe.' "

    According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, distracted driving ranks with drunken driving and speeding as the leading causes of fatal and serious injury crashes.

    In 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 20 percent of injury crashes involved some type of distraction, federal officials say. Cell-phone use was a factor in 18 percent of fatal crashes.

    Safety experts sort distracted driving into three types. There's visual, such as taking your eyes off the road, manual - letting go of the steering wheel - and cognitive, or taking your mind off what you're doing.

    Of all the varieties of distracted driving - eating and drinking, talking to passengers, changing the radio station - texting is the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction, according to safety experts.

    Cell-phone dialing and texting can take a driver's eyes from the roadway for five to 10 seconds - longer than the sub-three seconds that a motorist typically has to react as a potential crash situation unfolds.


    Teenagers make up the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes, at 16 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Next come drivers in their 20s, at 13 percent.

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    Elite Member MsChiff's Avatar
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    How devastating.. that mother got a broken leg & arm, a shattered pelvis & lost her daughter all at once That would be really hard to get over. A misdo -wow.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Horrible. For a stupid text.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    I know it's the drivers fault but even when on a crossing I still come out cautiously in case of idiot drivers. Not blaming the mother at all but I wonder how she didn't notice a car not slowing down or driving erractically.
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    ^Maybe it was at a pedestrian walking area?
    A construction worker was hit and killed in my city because a women was doing the exact same thing this lady was. I hope they live with it for the rest for their lives.

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    Too true. I hope she see's the little girls face every night before she goes to sleep.
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    Horrible. For a stupid text.
    yeah, that probably was some stupid reply like "LOL!"

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holly View Post
    yeah, that probably was some stupid reply like "LOL!"
    That's what I always wonder about, will anyone ever know what it was? Hopefully she lives knowing she killed another person all just to say some trivial ass bullshit and realizes how fucking ridiculous and meaningless it was AND I may sound fucked up but how many suicide attempts has she made? If she has no family to take care of other than herself then where is the overwhelming sense of shame that would make a person want to commit suicide? This could be completely misunderstood but how do you acknowledge you did something like and still allow yourself to breath air.
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    that child was adorable

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    Cell phone usage while driving is far too common and very dangerous. Some state and local government agencies have made the use of a cell phone while driving illegal. In some areas restrictions are directed to minors and new license holders. Other jurisdictions have enacted laws to ban handheld use, but allow the usage of a hands free devices.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    One city on our area has just banned texting and hand held cells. Others have banned just in school zones and everyone agrees it is going to be pretty hard to enforce except maybe going at 20mph.
    The ticket will cost $200 and it is just possible that may scare some off. We can hope.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Kill Me View Post
    That's what I always wonder about, will anyone ever know what it was?
    Oh I'm sure that came out in court. They usually peg it to the second it happened.

    Watched a Dateline not too long ago and the knew exactly what she was texting at the time she hit another car - in the wrong lane of traffic. Texter survived.
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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    "And yet," Andrian said, "she is also a young person. We've made all this technology available."

    He added, "Assuming that texting had something to do with it - and I don't know 100 percent, but let's assume that it did - hopefully what you learn from this case is, this is one of those things that is used to educate the public and make the public more aware of the danger of it."
    Is this lawyer for real? We need this case to figure out that texting while driving is dangerous? Unlike his complete moron of a client I seem to have figured it out all by myself.

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    Elite Member ManxMouse's Avatar
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    Oh, and my great governor, one (P)Rick Perry, refused to sign a bill into law prohibiting texting while driving because it would be "a government overreach." For fucking real. Unlike his plans to bulldoze homes to build an enormous tangle of highways in godforsaken West Texas built by Spanish investors who were lining his pockets, or requiring girls to get the HPV vaccine when it was relatively untested based on campaign contributions from Merck. Check his pockets for AT&T dollars, I promise they are there.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    We have the laws here, but what kind of fucking idiot needs a a law to know that texting while driving is dangerous. If people can't make that connection without a law, perhaps they aren't up to the mental part of driving anyway.
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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