The Oregonian is reporting that an arrest has been made in one of the most egregious Oregon distracted driving cases in recent memory. According to the newspaper, a 23-year-old Gresham woman is now under arrest after “taking video on her cellphone when she drove into three teens in a crosswalk outside their high school.”
Further investigation showed that at the time of the Oregon pedestrian accident the driver did not have her hands on the steering wheel. Perhaps even more shocking is the revelation that the driver appears to have been taking a video of her own son at the time of the accident. “A 19-second-long clip… shows the 23-year-old with the device in her left hand and making gestures at her son in the back seat with her right hand just before she hits three girls outside Centennial High School on Jan. 15,” the paper reports.
According to the newspaper “the three injured girls, between 14 and 15-years-old, survived the crash” though all three were seriously injured. The accident took place in January and The Oregonian reports that the driver remained at the scene of the accident and cooperated with law enforcement. She has now been charged with “third-degree assault, reckless endangering and reckless driving.” Witnesses reported the driver was traveling at nearly 40 miles per hour when she struck the three pedestrians.
As an Oregon distracted driving lawyer this case is a powerful reminder that distracted driving is not just a teenage issue and that adults, too, can sometimes make shockingly poor decisions while behind the wheel. It is difficult to imagine what might have been going through the mind of a parent who would endanger their own child by turning around to make a video while also driving a fast-moving car. The criminal justice system is now going to deal with this particular driver, but the entire incident is a reminder of how important safety issues are whenever anyone – of any age – is driving a car. Moreover, the criminal case against the driver does not change the fact that the girls and their families retain the ability to seek damages in civil court to recover money for their medical bills and associated expenses as well as pain and suffering. The distinction is important because criminal cases deal with accountability to society while civil cases, by their nature, are about justice for victims.