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N.J. Judge: Texter Not Liable For Driver’s Crash

N.J. judge: Texter not liable for driver’s crash

By Peggy Wright, (Morristown, N.J) Daily Record

Updated 5/25/2012 3:30 PM

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – A woman who texted her boyfriend while he was driving cannot be held liable for a crash he caused while responding, a judge ruled Friday.

The question of personal liability of someone texting not present in a vehicle that crashed hadn’t ever been directly addressed in case law, Morris County Superior Court Judge David Rand said.

Motorcyclists David and Linda Kubert, who were living Dover, N.J., each lost a leg in the Sept. 21, 2009, crash in Mine Hill, N.J.

Kyle Best of Wharton, N.J., who was driving a pickup truck, veered head on into them, and Best pleaded guilty earlier this year to using a hand-held cellphone while driving, careless driving and failure to maintain a lane in Montville (N.J.) Municipal Court.

Rand dismissed Best’s girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, from the civil suit the Kuberts had filed against both Best and Colonna, noting that the duty to drive carefully is a motorist’s responsibility.

Colonna, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was not in court Friday, and her lawyer, Joseph McGlone, declined comment.

Colonna and Best, who was 19 at the time of the accident, were texting each other in the seconds before the crash. A few seconds after Best texted Colonna, he called 911 to report the crash, and he tried to administer first aid to the victims at the scene

NOTE: This case will probably be appealed to the NJ Supreme Court.

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