Fatal Pedestrian Accident Results in a Vehicular Homicide Conviction
On Friday, November 22, 2019, a Monmouth County jury returned a verdict convicting Alexandra Mansonet, 50, of vehicular homicide following a motor vehicle accident on September 28, 2016 that killed a pedestrian, Yuwen Wang, then 39.
Vehicle Collision Turns Fatal for Pedestrian
Mansonet was traveling southbound on Laurel Avenue towards Sixth Avenue in Hazlet, NJ. Her vehicle failed to come to a stop before impacting a stopped vehicle in front of her on Laurel Avenue. The rear-end collision sent the other vehicle into Wang, who was crossing the road while on a walk during a short break from work. Wang later died from her injuries at a local hospital.
State Charges Driver with Texting Behind the Wheel
Following the accident, investigators received Mansonet’s permission to search her cell phone. Prosecutors ultimately charged Mansonet with vehicular homicide, alleging that she was distracted by texting while driving. At trial, prosecutors alleged that in the moments leading up to the collision Mansonet was reading a text from a family member asking about dinner plans. Prosecutors further alleged that Mansonet failed to engage her brakes prior to rear-ending the stopped vehicle in front of her.
Mansonet testified in her own defense, denying the state’s allegation that she was reading or responding to a text prior to the accident. Mansonet claimed that she had read the text from her family member prior to leaving for work. Instead, Mansonet testified that she was turning off her windshield wiper and turning on the defroster when she looked up moments prior to her vehicle’s impact with the stopped car in front.
Jury Returns Guilty Verdict on Vehicular Homicide Charge
The jury ultimately returned a verdict finding Mansonet guilty of vehicular homicide. Mansonet now faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for her conviction.
The jury’s verdict in this case should also serve as an indication that New Jersey has – and will continue to – hold drivers responsible for causing serious and fatal injuries when they text and drive. If texting behind the wheel is a sufficient basis for a jury to return a guilty verdict in a criminal trial, then texting and driving should certainly be a sufficient basis for a driver to be found negligent in a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
If you or a member of your family have been involved in a motor vehicle accident where you suspect that the at-fault driver was texting behind the wheel, it is critical that you speak to an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. In many cases, it may be possible to secure evidence that a driver was using his or her cell phone in the moments leading up to an accident. Proof that a driver was on his or her cell phone immediately prior to an accident can be strong evidence of the driver’s negligence.
Contact a Chatham Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari represent clients injured because of distracted driving accidents in Parsippany, Mount Olive, Rockaway, Jersey City, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 635-5400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Main St., Chatham, NJ 07928, as well as offices in Jersey City, Sea Girt, and North Bergen.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.