Jury in N.J. Issues Vehicular Homicide Conviction for Accident Caused by Texting-While-Driving
Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Monmouth County, NJ Results in Conviction
A Monmouth County jury returned a verdict on Friday, November 22, 2019, finding Alexandra Mansonet, 50, guilty of the vehicular homicide of Yuwen Wang, then 39-years old.
Pedestrian Killed in Vehicular Accident
Wang was killed in a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident that occurred on September 28, 2016. Wang was walking the Henry Hudson Trail while on a short break from work when she was struck by a vehicle while crossing the road. The vehicle that struck Wang was itself rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Mansonet. Mansonet was traveling southbound on Laurel Avenue toward Sixth Street in Hazlet when she failed to come to a stop before impacting a stopped vehicle in front of her. Wang later died at a local hospital from the injuries she suffered in the pedestrian accident. Following the accident, investigators received Mansonet’s consent to search her cell phone.
Prosecutors Allege Driver Was Texting-While-Driving
State prosecutors ultimately charged Mansonet with vehicular homicide arising from Wang’s death. At trial, prosecutors alleged that the rear-end accident that ultimately resulted in Wang’s fatal injuries was caused by Mansonet texting behind the wheel. Specifically, the state presented evidence that in the moments before the accident, Mansonet was reading a text from a family member regarding dinner plans. Prosecutors further alleged that Mansonet failed to engage her brakes at all prior to the rear-end collision.
Mansonet took the stand in her own defense, denying that she was reading a text prior to the accident; Mansonet claimed that she read the text before leaving for work. Instead, Mansonet claimed that, in the moments prior to the accident, she was turning off her windshield wipers and turning on the car’s defroster when she looked up, too late to stop her vehicle or avoid the rear-end collision with a stopped vehicle in front of her.
Jury Finds Driver Guilty of Vehicular Homicide
The jury’s verdict found Mansonet guilty of vehicular homicide. She now faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison for her conviction.
In addition, this case should also put drivers on notice that New Jersey law will hold them responsible for serious and fatal injuries that result when they text behind the wheel — if texting and driving is a basis to find a driver criminally responsible for causing a fatal accident, it is certainly a basis to find that driver negligent in a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
When you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that you believe was caused by a driver who was distracted by his or her cell phone, it is critical that you retain the assistance of an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who can help you secure evidence that a driver was using his or her cell phone behind the wheel; such evidence can include the driver’s call or text logs. Proof that a driver was texting and driving can be crucial evidence to establish a driver’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident case.
Contact a Nutley 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 Birkhold & Maider, LLC represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer County, Union County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 947-4670 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 189 Franklin Ave., Suite 1, Nutley, NJ 07110, as well as offices in Hamilton.
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