A recent article on WBTV.com, discussed the tragic case of Leah Walton, a Charlotte woman who was recently sentenced to several years behind bars for a deadly distracted driving accident which took place two years ago.
A Mecklenburg County jury issued the guilty verdict to the 23-year old earlier this week, not taking much time to deliberate over the young woman’s fate. She was found guilty of a laundry list of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, reckless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.
For the assault conviction she will serve between 2 years, 7 months and 4 years and for involuntary manslaughter she was sentenced to six years of supervised probation. If she fails to satisfy the terms of her probation, she will be sent to prison for 20-24 months. Beyond jail time, she was ordered to pay substantial restitution to the innocent victims; $18,000 to the woman who survived the terrible crash but is now wheelchair bound, and $12,000 to the family of the woman who was killed. Both were nurses taking a break from work and walking along a sidewalk.
Walton’s mother took to the stand to plea for mercy on her daughter. She explained that her family had suffered terribly as a result of the accident. She said that her daughter “will suffer with the knowledge of the events for the remainder of her life.”
Prosecutors said that Walton ran into two people due to distracted driving. Unlike many recent cases of distracted driving in the news, Walton was not texting or otherwise occupied by her phone. Walton was instead distracted as she was reaching down for a cigarette and didn’t hit the break until she hit the curb. Walton said she was running late for work the morning of the accident and was in a hurry. She also admitted to smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and popping an anti-anxiety pill the night before the crash, though the pill came with a prescription for panic attacks. Walton also said she had used cocaine in the days leading up to the wreck.
Given the human toll this accident took it’s easy to wonder how something as unimportant as a cigarette could seem worth such a heavy price. Is a cigarette, or an email or a text message worth putting yourself and those around you at risk of a terrible car accident? As North Carolina car wreck attorneys we routinely see the devastating aftermath of collisions caused by such distracted driving accidents. If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
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