Judge: Texter not liable in accident

May 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM
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MORRISTOWN, N.J., May 25 (UPI) -- A New Jersey judge said Friday a young woman was not liable even though she sent multiple texts to a driver involved in a disastrous accident.

Shannon Colonna was 17 at the time of the 2008 accident in Morris County. The driver Kyle Best was 18.

Morris County Superior Court Judge David Rand said Colonna had no way of knowing when Best would read the texts, and therefore had no responsibility for the accident, MSNBC reported.

Rand said drivers suffer from many forms of distraction -- text messages, notifications from smartphones, GPS devices or signs along the road, ABC News said.

Best's vehicle struck a motorcycle with David and Linda Kubert aboard, the report said. The couple, in their late 50s, suffered a number of injuries and each had to have a leg amputated.

Skippy Weinstein, the Kuberts' attorney, tried to include Colonna in a lawsuit. The (Newark) Star-Ledger said Colonna had eaten lunch with Best of Wharton and exchanged 62 text messages with him before the accident.

ABC said Best pleaded guilty to distracted driving, and records show Best responded to a text from Colonna seconds before dialing 911.

The Star-Ledger said Colonna testified she "probably" did not know that Best was driving when she texted, and she texts "probably like 110 [times] or more."

"I mean, I'm a young teenager," she said. "That's what we do."

The ABC report said Best was ordered to speak to 14 high schools about the dangers of driving and texting. He also had to pay $775 in fines, but his license was not suspended.

The Star-Ledger said the Kuberts have since moved to Florida, where David Kubert has been denied disability.

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