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?