ST. JOHNS (WWJ/AP) – A 23-year-old woman whose car struck and killed a bicyclist north of Lansing has been barred from using a cellphone while on probation for two years.
Judge Stewart McDonald told Mitzi Nelson at a sentencing hearing Wednesday that having a cellphone is a privilege, not a right. The ban applies to any portable communication device.
Additionally, McDonald ordered Nelson to spend at least 90 days in jail, speak to 20 driver’s education classes about the dangers of distracted driving, perform 150 hours of community service, and pay $17,100 in restitution and fines.
Police say Nelson was distracted by her phone last fall when 35-year-old Jill Byelich was hit while riding a bike near DeWitt in Clinton County. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.
Defense attorney Mike Nichols said Nelson “may be just fine” with the phone ban. Byelich’s husband, Jordan Byelich, suggested the cellphone ban. He hugged Nelson in court before she was taken to jail.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Nelson will serve the first 30 days of her jail sentence immediately and another 30 days next spring. The remaining days will be served over four holiday periods.
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