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Texting 16-year-old driver charged with manslaughter

Recent statistics collected by the Missouri Highway Patrol point to cell phone use as the cause of 1,837 accidents in 2011; 11 of those accidents were fatal.

Sadly, a 16-year-old Northland girl now knows all too well about the dangers behind texting while driving. Recently, Kansas City prosecutors decided that the girl will be tried as an adult in connection with the September 2011 wreck that killed a Camden Point woman.

The girl was certified to stand trial as an adult on April 16, 2012 and three days later, prosecutors charged her with third-degree assault, second-degree involuntary manslaughter and texting while driving.

If the girl is convicted of the manslaughter charge, she could be facing up to four years in prison. Additionally, she could spend one year in prison for the assault charge and a $200 fine for a texting while driving conviction.

The fatal wreck happened about 3 p.m. Sept. 26, 2011. The girl lost control and slammed into a car driven by a 72-year-old Camden Point woman. After emergency workers extricated the woman from her car, she was taken to a hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead.

The woman's 10-year-old granddaughter was also in the car at the time of the accident. She survived the crash.

The 16-year-old girl allegedly admitted to investigators that she was using her phone to text when she lost control of the car. A passenger in her vehicle said she was not watching the road and drove onto the shoulder. As she attempted to correct her course, she slid into oncoming traffic, police say.

The victim's granddaughter told investigators her grandmother pulled over to try to avoid colliding with the out-of-control car. Investigators believe her car was nearly stopped at the time of the collision.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Northland teen charged with texting while driving in fatal crash," Tony Rizzo, April 19, 2012

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