A young American woman is being charged with negligent homocide in the killing of a 89-year-old great-grandmother in a car crash for using Facebook on her mobile phone while driving when she crashed into another car being driven by the daughter of the victim.
According to a Traill County court documents, Abby Sletten, 20, is facing a count of negligent homicide.
Abby Sletten, 20, is accused of driving 85 mph on a North Dakota highway May 27 while using her cellphone when her car rear-ended an SUV, CNN reports. She is to appear in court on October 8 and her lawyer, Bruce Quick, declined to comment.
Gordon was a front-seat passenger in an SUV driven by her 34-year-old granddaughter, who had slowed to make an unauthorized U-turn across the median on the afternoon of May 27. Sletten’s SUV then slammed into the vehicle, killing Gordon and injuring her granddaughter and a great-granddaughter, USA Today reports.
Investigators later obtained a warrant to search Sletten’s phone and determined she was looking at photos on her mobile Facebook app at the time of the crash, according to the affidavit. She had also sent text messages while driving. The lack of skid marks on the road suggested Sletten did not see Meyers’ car in front of her, the documents said.
The affidavit also says that Sletten did not brake and nearly hit the witness’ vehicle after striking Meyers’ SUV.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol determined she was traveling roughly 85 mph and had not tried to brake.
The criminal complaint states that it was determined that Sletten “was viewing pictures on her Facebook application on her phone, at the time of the crash,” and that she had “also sent and received several text messages since she departed from Fargo.”
North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind said it is against state law to compose or read electronic messages while driving. The North Dakota texting and driving law, enacted in 2011, prohibits drivers from reading, writing and sending electronic messages, including email, KVLY/KXJB reported. The law carries a $100 fine, but Crocker said a tougher law was needed.
“We gotta have a reason for them to not text and drive,” the sheriff told KVLY/KXJB.
Sletten told police she did not remember the crash.
Gordon’s survivors include eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted.