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Woman Who Ran Down Motorcyclist While Painting Nails Convicted Of Felony Reckless Homicide

Posted in Crashes, driving, General, Motorcycle, Newsworthy, Safety by Kurt Ernst | May 9th, 2010 | 5 Responses |

Anita Zaffke, killed by a distracted driver.

Motorcyclist Anita Zaffke was stopped at a traffic light, and chances are that she never saw the car that killed her. The driver of that car, Lora Hunt, was busy painting her nails and failed to see the motorcycle (or, presumably, the red light) in front of her. Zaffke later died of internal injuries suffered in the accident, while Hunt received a summons for “failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident”. Ironically, Hunt admitted to police that she was painting her nails at the time of the crash, but this didn’t impact the citation issued at the scene. Public outcry, largely from the motorcycle community, forced the local prosecutor to pursue criminal charges.

Hunt testified under oath that she’d stopped painting her nails before the crash occurred. Her lawyer argued that Hunt’s actions weren’t reckless, but merely negligent; akin to eating a sandwich or talking on a cell phone. The jury didn’t buy her attorney’s “everybody does it” line of reasoning, and convicted Hunt of felony reckless homicide. Sentencing is scheduled for next month, and Hunt faces up to five years in prison for her actions.

There’s a lesson in this for all of us. Hunt, by all accounts, is a good woman. A nurse by profession, she doesn’t have a string of DUI arrests or traffic citations on her record; in fact, prior to this accident she had a clean driving record. Like all of us, she over-estimated her ability to multi-task while driving a car, and made one bad choice. Think about that the next time you’re behind the wheel; is dialing your cell phone or eating breakfast on the run worth risking someone’s life?

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5 Responses

  1. Jim Walker says:

    GOOD!!! People need to send a message to people with a complete disregard for life. This shit won’t be tolerated. Grow some balls and stand up for this shit!

  2. Kurt says:

    Jim, here’s the thing – up until the accident happened, the driver didn’t have a disregard for human life. She was a nurse with a clean driving record, who did one incredibly stupid thing by over-estimating her ability to multitask while driving. I’d guess that 98% of the people on the road today do the same thing – maybe they’re not painting their nails, but they’re eating, reading the paper, programming a GPS, texting, etc. In every case, it’s another fatal accident waiting to happen, because everyone overestimates their ability to drive when the shit hits the fan.

    Don’t get me wrong, Jim, I don’t disagree with you. As a rider, I’d like to see her punished to the full extent of the law, but there’s a lesson in this for everyone. Too bad that most people won’t get it.

  3. Jim Walker says:

    I understand that. But a lot people think your always entitled to a second chance. Sometimes your not allowed to make a mistake. This is one of those cases. It should be dealt with more seriously, and to send a message to people this is not ok. When your driving, you better pay attention. You don’t get a second chance to bring someone back to life. Unfortunately to send that message to people you have to be draconian so people will “get it”.

  4. Kurt says:

    Agreed, Jim, and for too long the legal system turned a blind eye to motorcyclists. Kill someone in a car, and you were guaranteed to be prosecuted. Kill someone on a bike, and it was their own fault for being a risk taker. Let’s hope this won’t be the last time a local prosecuter pursues charges for killing a rider.

  5. Jim Walker says:

    Sorry, meant to say I understand she was for the most part a law-abiding citizen. But people are like kids. You beat their ass hard the first time they mess up, then you only need to “remind them” less often. Sounds harsh, but like kids, it really is for their own good. But stiff laws weren’t put up in the first place, now there is a lot of catching up to do before people will take this seriously. But that usually applies to people and kids with a lower level IQ (not ego centered, just the truth). And unfortunately in this country, it’s not quite up there yet. Sorry, expect better out of my countrymen. Anyways, they should definitely teach psychology at a lower level in the school system. Keep up the good posts Kurt.