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Distracted teenager charged with vehicular manslaughter

The tragic story of a mother, her child and a family friend -- who died in a pedestrian crash -- has finally ended in an arrest. Police arrested a teenager last Monday and charged her with second-degree vehicular homicide relating to the incident. After a months-long police investigation, Georgia authorities allege that the teenager was distracted by her smartphone at the time she struck the three victims, who were crossing the road on foot.

The young driver, who is now 18 years of age, struck the pedestrians at approximately 8:16 p.m. on Sept. 9 as they were leaving a concert in Woodstock, Georgia. According to the arrest affidavit, the girl, who was 17 when the accident happened, was putting her cellphone away when she unintentionally struck the victims.

The 28-year-old mother died three days after the accident. Her 4-month-old daughter died just several hours after the collision. The 61-year-old family friend died over a week after the accident.

The young mother would not have been in Georgia if it hadn't been for Hurricane Irma, which had just hit her home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The woman left her home, seeking refuge in Georgia for herself and her baby. Sadly, this unexpected and tragic incident claimed her life while she was visiting our state with the purest of intentions.

If you or a loved one died in any kind of unlikely vehicle accident, never rule out the possibility that the at-fault driver may have been distracted by his or her cellphone. In many cases, it's possible to demand cellphone records in court to prove that a particular driver was indeed unlawfully distracted. Such evidence might support a wrongful death claim for damages filed by surviving family members.

Source: People, "Distracted Teen Driver Killed a Mother and Child Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Authorities Allege," Elaine Aradillas, May 16, 2018

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