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Virginia woman guilty in fatal distracted driving crash

It was the day after Thanksgiving and a Virginia family was sitting in their minivan at a stoplight about an hour southwest of McLean. The dad was driving, with the mom in the front passenger seat and their three young kids seated in the back.

The father said he could see a vehicle approaching at high speed, leaving him no time to react. The speeding SUV slammed into the back of the van, trapping one of the three children in a tangle of bent metal. Three days after the violent rear-end collision, the little boy died.

A Fauquier County jury recently found the woman who was behind the wheel of the SUV guilty of reckless driving. She will serve a 12-month sentence, according to a media report.

At trial, the dad spoke about the crash, telling the court that everyone in the family sustained injuries that day, including cuts, bruises, skull fractures and facial fractures.

The SUV driver described the moments before the crash, telling the jury that she had seen a green light and then reached for a cup of hot chocolate and fumbled with its lid. She insisted she had not been distracted, though the evidence retrieved from her SUV's crash recorder showed that she did not brake until two-tenths of a second before impact.

A police officer testified that there were no skid marks at the scene of the crash.

The defendant argued that she had been "focusing on the light and what was right in front of me."

A witness said she saw the woman's SUV weaving in traffic prior to the violent collision and that the vehicle did not slow as it approached the intersection.

The jury needed less than an hour to deliver its guilty verdict.

Families that lose loved ones to distracted, reckless drivers often pursue financial penalties as well for perpetrators. The process of obtaining that additional measure of justice begins with a conversation with an attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.

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