This beautiful child is Calli Murray, 2, who became the latest fatality of a driver who was texting while driving. The driver was Sonoma State University freshman Kaitlyn Dunaway who was texting while driving in California. She slammed her Honda into Calli and her mother Ling Murray, 40, who suffered a broken leg, a shattered pelvis and broken arm. However, Dunaway, 18, will only be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
The mother spent a month in the hospital and months more in rehabilitation.
These are tough cases in terms of sentencing. It was a stupid and lethal act but not an intentional crime (other than the intent to text). As a result of the misdemeanor, Dunaway faces no more than a year in jail.
This may be the appropriate charge but usually the family has the better option of a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. In this case, however, Dunaway is a legal adult and thus her parents would presumably not be subject to the lawsuit. The result is a college student with presumably little in terms of assets. It is still, however, worth the lawsuit. You cannot claim bankruptcy to judicially awarded damages and the result is that Dunaway could spend much of her life having to pay for this act. Even if only a token garnishment, it is a constant reminder of the terrible cost imposed on the family.
Before this misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge, Dunaway had a 2009 conviction for riding in part of a vehicle that is not designed to carry passengers. She was also accused of traveling at an excessive speed.
I would be interested in how our readers view the treatment of these type of accidents as a misdemeanor. Would justice be truly served by jailing this teenager for more than a year?
Source: SF Gate