Jury Convicts Driver in N.J. of Vehicular Homicide Caused by Texting-while-Driving
Distracted Driving Accident Results in Pedestrian Death
A Monmouth County jury returned a verdict on Friday, November 22, 2019, convicting Alexandra Mansonet, 50, of vehicular homicide arising from a motor vehicle accident that fatally injured Yuwen Wang, then 39.
Pedestrian Killed in Fatal Collision
On September 26, 2016, Mansonet’s vehicle was traveling southbound on Laurel Avenue toward Sixth Street in Hazlet, NJ. Mansonet rear-ended a vehicle in front of her, pushing that vehicle into Wang, who was crossing the road while walking the Henry Hudson Trail on a break from work. Wang later died from her injuries at a local hospital. Following the accident, Mansonet consented to investigators’ request to inspect her cell phone.
State Alleges Driver Was Texting Behind the Wheel
Prosecutors later charged Mansonet with vehicular homicide, alleging that the accident that caused Wang’s death was the result of Mansonet texting behind the wheel. At trial, prosecutors alleged that, in the moments prior to the accident, Mansonet was distracted by reading and responding to a text from a family member regarding dinner plans. Prosecutors alleged that Mansonet failed to engage her brakes at all before rear-ending the stopped vehicle in front of her, which ended up striking Wang.
In her defense, Mansonet denied allegations that she was responding to a text when the accident occurred. Mansonet testified that she read the message from her family member prior to leaving for work. Instead, Mansonet claimed that her focus was on turning off her windshield wipers and turning on her windshield defroster when she looked up immediately prior to the accident, with no time to stop or avoid the collision.
Jury Returns Vehicular Homicide Conviction
The jury, apparently accepting the state’s version of events, returned a guilty verdict convicting Mansonet of vehicular homicide. Mansonet now faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison for her conviction.
The verdict also indicates that New Jersey law will hold drivers responsible when their texting behind the wheel leads to an accident that causes serious injury or death. Moreover, if a driver can be held criminally responsible for causing serious or fatal injuries by texting while driving, that driver may also be held civilly liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident that you believe was caused by a driver who was distracted while texting behind the wheel, it is important that you speak with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney about your legal rights and options. In many cases, it may be possible to prove that a driver was using his or her cell phone in the moments leading up to an accident, usually through the driver’s call or text logs. Proof that a driver was texting and driving prior to an accident may be strong evidence of his or her negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death case.
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St., Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.
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