Texting while driving? Fil-Am's trial set for December 5
MANILA, Philippines – If the court proves her guilty, Filipino-American Jorene Ypanto Nicolas may spend 6 years in California prison for distracted driving that killed one in 2011.
The Orange County Courthouse in Sta. Ana has set a December 5 schedule for the trial of Nicolas, the Philippine News reported.
OC District Attorney told PNews that Nicolas, 31, was speeding northbound on Interstate 405 at approximately 11 am on April 27, 2011.
The victim's car, a Hyundai sedan driven by 23-year-old Deanna Mauer, struck the center divider. Mauer was brought to the University of California Irvine Medical Center but was declared brain dead "due to vertebral artery transaction."
She is accused of “being distracted and inattentive while driving and failing to notice that the traffic ahead had come to a complete stop.” Nicolas' lawyer, Eric Lampel, believes it was an accident.
“When we’re talking about an accident, an accident means there’s nothing that anyone could have done to avoid it. In this case, it’s our position that the collision could have been avoided and was not a simple accident. There was negligence involved as Ms. Nicolas was not paying attention to what was going on around her. Because of that, we don’t characterize it as an accident. We characterize it as a criminal act,” Gyves was quoted in a PNews report. "It was more than just an accident," he added.
But he is "not prepared to say at this point if cell phone use or texting was a factor."
The victim's father, Howard Mauer, said in an interview with American television network CBS that Nicolas “may have been on the phone or texting,” although he "feels sorry" for her.
According to local media, Nicolas was arrested in January 2012, but posted bail a few days later and has been free since then. – Rappler.com