I represent the family of Keith Homstad Jr., a 23 year old serviceman, Airman 1St class, who tragically lost his life in a vehicular collision occurring on August 04, 2010. Keith was visiting his parents when home on leave from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.
The party that caused the collison, Megan Peterson, a Knox County teenager, was indicted in Knox County by the grand jury for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, and Aggravated Vehicular Assault. Both charges are felonies, and convictions may result in a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for the homicide, and 6 to 18 months for the assault. Additionally, fines up to $10,000.00 and $5,000.00 may be rendered. The driving rights suspension for the aggravated homicide charge is a definite period of 3 years to life, and a definite suspension of 1 year to 5 years for the aggravated assault.
The indictment for the charges was based upon the allegation that the teen was texting on her cell phone at the time of the crash. Because her attention was diverted to her texts, she failed to see the vehicle in front of hers slow to make a turn, and then went left of center and struck another vehicle head on. Also sustaining serious injuries was the driver of the vehicle struck, Ryan Thogmartin.
Subpoenas of the teens cell phone records reveal that she had sent and received 222 texts over the 12 hour period preceding the crash, and was texting and driving each minute during the 20 minute period of time immediately preceding the crash.
A Franklin County grand jury recently indicted a 56 year old man, Daniel Jacobs, of Reynoldsburg for aggravated vehicular homicide for texting behind the wheel and causing the death of a 16-year-old student driver, Dalton Ludwig, who was sitting behind the wheel with his driving instructor, Floyd Evans, when struck. Their vehicle was stopped off the side of the rode to discuss how to safely get on and off a freeway.
Texting has become such commonplace, especially among teenagers, that there is little awareness of the distraction that results, and the severe life-changing consequences that may occur. The family members of the victims will never get to see their loved ones again, and the loss is so sensless.
Please take this time to impress upon your teens, and adult family members as well, that this conduct is inexcusable, and the results may be both devastating for not only the injured parties but for them as well. There is very little difference between drinking and driving, and texting and driving, as the law will consider both to be reckless conduct. Texting and driving is an accident just waiting to happen.