Distracted driving and excessive speed were contributing factors in a tragic double fatality car accident on Friday.
A Reynoldsburg, Ohio couple, Louann and Robert Widdoes, were killed instantly when a car driven by 18 year old Jason Bell slammed into their car after running a stop sign. The crash occurred about 7 miles north of Bucyrus, Ohio on Route 4. Bell is being held on a $1 million bond on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges.
Witnesses reported that Bell was driving at an extremely high rate of speed before he ran the stop sign and collided with the Widdoe vehivle. Bell reportedly admitted that he was driving his girlfriend’s vehicle in excess of 65 miles per hour and told investigators that a loud radio and three passengers in the car caused his distracted driving. None of Bell’s passengers were seriously injured in the crash. Investigators are checking Bell’s cell phone records to see if cell phone use or texting while driving played a role in the tragedy.
Bell was driving with a learner’s permit at the time of the crash. He has been cited for traffic violations three times n the month of October including a citation for running a red light. Aggravated vehicular homicide is a third-degree felony and is punishable by a maximum of 60 months in jail and a fine of $10,000.
The Widdoes were traveling to be with family after the death of Mrs. Widdoe’s father earlier the day of the accident.
According to the latest available figures, 3,092 deaths from distracted driving were recorded in 2010. Since many drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents are understandably unwilling to admit that they were texting or engaging in other distracted driving behavior or because the distracted driver died in the accident, experts believe that the actual number of deaths may be considerably higher. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated “Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways – that’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel.”
The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List are experienced in handling cases involving distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident and you believe that the driver responsible for the accident was distracted, contact Clark, Perdue & List.