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Charges In Fatal ‘Texting While Driving’ Accident

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LAPEER (WWJ) - The Lapeer County Prosecutor believes this is the first case of its kind in Michigan. A 41-year-old man is facing a charge of causing death while texting and driving. 

Seventy-eight year-old Irene Paquin of Attica Township was killed last November when the car driven by her husband was broadsided by a car driven by Jerry Joseph.

“The allegations are that he (Joseph) was operating a motor vehicle on M-21, right around the speed limit, about 55 to 60 miles per hour. And there’s some evidence that he was texting either simultaneously or just prior to a collision where he disregarded the stop sign,” said Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh.

Phone records revealed that Joseph was texting just seconds before the impact.

Konschuh believes this is the first case of its kind in Michigan and said that Paquin’s death was “a complete tragedy” that could have been avoided.

Michigan’s ban on texting while driving officially took effect August 1, 2010.

“The craziness about texting and driving is it’s been proven through studies that it’s 3 to 4 times more dangerous that someone who’s operating under the influence of alcohol. And we know what alcohol does to people’s ability to operate a motor vehicle,” Konschuh said.

Joseph’s Attorney declined to comment on the case. He is scheduled in court for a pretrial hearing on April 21, 2011.

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