Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Have No Words...

I thought some of the stuff in the video I posted yesterday was stupid. Folks, the idiots passing cars on the right, lanesplitting, and otherwise riding motorcycles like mouth-breathing morons are Albert F**king Einstein compared to the person in this next story...

Driver was on Facebook before crash that killed three, say cops
A Wisconsin woman's phone is recovered months after a crash in which her daughter and two nieces, whom she was driving, were killed. She is being charged with homicide.

When the crash happened, police couldn't work out why.

A car driven by 34-year-old Kari Jo Milberg from Centuria, Wisc., allegedly plowed into a truck heading in the opposite direction. Her 11-year-old daughter and two 5-year-old nieces, who were in the car with her, were killed.
Also in this car was her three year old son, who was injured in the crash. Now, I understand that there are a lot of "if"s here. We're assuming the story is more-or-less correct as reported, and I know that often that is a HUGE leap of faith. I'm a little skeptical myself in that the phone was found months later, and *that* is the break that lead cops to suspect she was on Facebook? There's something that doesn't quite mesh up here.

With that caveat, though, there's an inescapable fact: There was a collision between this person's vehicle and a rather large truck, and in that collision three people were killed. Her 11-year old daughter, and two 5-year old nieces, lost their lives in the crash. She was ejected from the vehicle, indicating she wasn't wearing a seatbelt; police and witnesses ruled out weather as a factor.

What is known is that immediately before the crash she was actively sending and receiving Facebook messages. The last message was two minutes before the crash was reported; certainly she was sending these messages at some point while she was driving. Maybe she stopped, and the crash happened when one of the kids caught her attention, but the evidence does point to her inattention as having caused the crash.

She's facing three counts of negligent homicide, which I can't say I disagree with. Assuming the charges are correct, her desire to continue a conversation on her phone was more important than the safety of not only her own two children, but of two small children under her care. That is unconscionable. It would be one thing if she got rear-ended at a red light and they discovered she was on Facebook at the time. But to be driving down a main road, blithely texting away with four kids in the car?

I can't wrap my mind around that kind of ignorance, I really can't.

That is all.


libertyman said...

The charge of negligent homicide is just, what a shame for all concerned.

Sailorcurt said...

1. This is the proper response. If someone misuses something and causes harm, punish the perpetrator for the misuse, don't try to blame or ban the object...that's just stupid.

2. Had she been pulled over prior to the crash, she'd have been given a ticket, sent on her way and received a slap on the wrist. It takes someone dying for the powers-that-be to take the crime of negligently operating a 3,000lb lethal weapon seriously...that, also, is just stupid.

ProudHillbilly said...

Obviously we have to ban autos because there's the risk of someone of someone being negligent and causing injury or death to others. If we save just one child's life...

W. Fleetwood said...

I'm going to make an unpopular point here. Because IF, and I agree it's a very big if, the report is correct in it's details the Facebook/texting/iPhone stuff had nothing to do with the traffic crash. Stupid, yes, the cause of the crash, no. Folks, do this; while driving with a friend take notice of where you are and what vehicles are around you as you and your friend talk. Now, stop talking for a real, actually counted on the second hand of your friends watch, two whole tick-tick-tick minutes. You are going to be in an entirely different place facing an entirely different traffic set. Where did this "two minutes" come from? For background I was a traffic crash investigator for the Florida Highway Patrol for twelve years. If we're dealing with a human witness all a time estimate does is establish a sequence of events, not the actual timing of those events. If the "two minutes" is derived by comparing separate, or multiple, electronic devices it can be just as wrong, most cell phones, GPS"s etc. are set on different time hacks, if anyone ever calibrated them at all. Again, I agree that this person sounds like a traffic crash in search of a location, but two real minutes down the road the proximate cause was most likely one of the usual ones; screaming-at-the-kids, changing-the-CD or the ever popular fumbling-with-the-coffee-mug.

Will said...

Lost phone in a crash? I saw that many times back when I patrolled CA freeways in a CHP towtruck in the early 00's. They can end up anywhere inside or outside of the vehicle.

Are drivers competent while using a phone? No f'n way! They don't see things ahead of them, they wander outside of their lane, and they can't maintain their speed. In other words, they have nearly zero situational awareness. Are they killing people? Back then, it was estimated that they killed more than 2K/year. A disproportional number of those deaths were bikers.

Lots of times, I would think that I was observing a DUI, but I quickly learned to pull alongside and check for a phone in use.

I could see into other vehicles, due to my cab-over truck, and I estimated that around 40% of the cars and pickups, during commute hours, had drivers with a phone to their ear.

Sailorcurt said...

"if, the report is correct in it's details the Facebook/texting/iPhone stuff had nothing to do with the traffic crash."

I think that's quite a stretch.

It doesn't prove beyond a doubt that she was actively using her phone for facebook at the time of the crash, but it indicates that she was engaged in such activities while she was driving and, therefore, it is very likely that it was a contributing factor.

If it was known that she was playing with the CD player, or screaming at the kids, within minutes of the crash, then I'd say those were the likely contributors. It is proven that she was using facebook while driving her car within minutes of the crash (possibly at that immediate instant, considering your own contention that the time hacks may not be perfectly synched) I'd say that's enough circumstantial evidence to draw the logical conclusion.

Whether that's enough to convict her is up to a jury, but it's definitely enough to charge her in my opinion.

And, as far as I'm concerned, just proving that she was using facebook while driving should be enough for a conviction that should result in her losing her license for a while and heavy fines even if her defense could prove unequivocally that it had nothing to do with that particular crash.

I personally believe that driving while futzing with a phone, radio, papers, etc is more dangerous than driving with a .08 blood alcohol level. So why does one result in basically nothing, while the other results in thousands of dollars in fines and loss of driving privileges for a year?

Of course, I have to admin that I'm biased. Several years ago my sister suffered a permanent brain injury when she was T-boned by a guy who was futzing with the radio in his truck and blew through a red light without even slowing down.

My sister's life was turned upside down, she's barely able to function, is in constant pain and will never be the same again.

He got a ticket for failure to yield. If I remember correctly, it was about a $200 fine. Oh, and he filed bankruptcy to avoid having to pay a civil judgement since his insurance didn't even cover all the hospital bills.

Anonymous said...

@Sailorcurt. That is a small vehicle at only 3000 pounds. My daily driver is a two door and weighs in the neighborhood of 4k, the beast, my truck is somewhere in the neighborhood of 6k.

I realize that any weight vehicle, from scooter to semi can take a life when operated incorrectly. The caveat of that is, it is easier to live through the wreck in a larger, sturdier vehicle, while in a smaller one your risk off serious injury or death are greater. Unfortunately I have seen a motorcycle/truck wreck, and the wreck was fatal to the guy in the truck. My friends older brother was riding the bike, just about two months out of high school and was stuck head on by a drunk in a pickup.

Brad went through the windshield, cab and back window, ending up in the bed of the truck. He was wearing a helmet so he isn't dead, a little slow, but alive. The truck driver, not so lucky. He had skull fractures and inter cranial bleeding, and a broken neck from a motorcycle helmet battering ram at better than 50mph.