A 20-year-old Sun Prairie woman may have been texting while driving before she struck a University of Wisconsin student in Madison last fall. Police investigators took several months to piece together the accident on East Johnson Street before charging the young woman with homicide by negligent driving.
The male UW student, who died of head injuries in the fatal car accident, was standing in the road outside of his disabled vehicle when the minivan hit him. The young woman told police that she saw the man and slammed on her brakes. She claimed she then immediately called her mother and 911.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports the woman’s cell phone log conflicts with her official statements. Police now believe, after reviewing a history of the woman’s cell phone usage, that she had been making calls and sending text messages in the minutes leading up to and possibly at the time of the pedestrian accident.
The phone log reveals that a call to the woman’s mother happened two minutes before another call to 911. The complaint says the driver had also sent three text messages less than ten minutes before the accident.
Police are also questioning whether the minivan driver actually saw the University of Wisconsin student in the road at all. The driver had stated that she applied the brakes and started to skid when she saw the student, but police could find no trace of skid marks on the road that would back up that claim.
According to the District Attorney, police needed the last several months to recreate the accident scene before coming to the conclusion that vehicular homicide charges should be filed.
Source: The Badger Herald, “Driver in accident that killed UW student was texting, complaint says,” Matt Huppert, 25 May 2011