Charges In Fatal ‘Texting While Driving’ Accident

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.

  • Lois Paquin-Hoffiz

    This article is about my Mother, who was killed on November 30, 2010. While I am saddened by the event, I hope and pray that many people will read this, listen to the radio, and read other publications that will be discussing the matter of texting and driving. I’ve quit texting and driving and I hope other people will realize that it is now more dangerous than drinking and driving. I have forgiven in my heart, as vengeance is not mine.

    • Steve Heckman

      Lois, I am very sorry for your loss which was entirely unnecessary. This was not an accident, but rather negligent homicide.

      A friend of mine in Detroit, who knows your family, sent this to me so that I can share it with others here in Ohio… I hope your tragic loss convinces others to stop this deadly practice.

      Steve Heckman
      Springfield, Ohio

  • Lois Paquin-Hoffiz

    Steve, there is no longer “negligent or vehicular homicide” in Michigan. I t is now “misdemeanor resulting in death’ or something like that. I don’t want to get into detail on the legalities, but I have found it in my heart to forgive, as vengeance is not mine.
    Who do you know here that knows my family? Thanks for circulating this in Ohio.

    Sincerely, Lois Paquin-Hoffiz

  • Man Who Caused Fatal ‘Texting While Driving’ Crash Pleads Guilty « Man Who Caused Fatal ‘Texting While Driving’ Crash Pleads Guilty « CBS Detroit

    […] Jerry Joseph pleaded guilty on Thursday to a moving violation causing death and to driving without […]

  • Texting Driver Who Caused Death Gets 30 Days In Jail « CBS Detroit

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

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