A 30-year-old Provo man accused of killing a pedestrian while texting and driving on the Brigham Young University campus has been sentenced to probation.
Cade Myles Krueger pleaded no contest last Thursday to using a handheld device to text or email while operating a vehicle, a class C misdemeanor.
Fourth District Judge Claudia Laycock suspended a 90-day jail sentence for the man, sentencing him instead to 30 days probation and a fine.Initially, the Utah County Attorney's Office charged Krueger with class A misdemeanor negligent homicide, as well as text messaging or emailing while driving, a class C misdemeanor.
In May, however, following oral arguments and a preliminary hearing, Laycock ruled there was not enough evidence to show Krueger was texting at exactly the moment his car hit 28-year-old Jessica Raylene Wilson and another woman at BYU. Wilson was killed in the Sept. 19, 2010 accident.
Laycock wrote in an order denying the bind-over of the negligent homicide charge that while there was evidence presented at the preliminary hearing that showed Krueger sent two text messages just minutes before the accident, there was no evidence to prove that he was behaving negligently by texting or looking at his phone at the moment his car hit the woman.
"The state has not presented any evidence that [Krueger] was texting or actually using his phone at the time of or immediately prior to impact," Laycock wrote. "There was no evidence presented by the state that the defendant had texted, looked at a text or used his phone in any manner at any time after turning onto Campus Drive, or that the defendant's phone played any part in causing the accident."Laycock also noted in her opinion that the two women did not have the right-of-way in the crosswalk, and were crossing against a red light. She also wrote that Krueger and another driver testified during the preliminary hearing that a distracting honk was heard by both drivers just moments before the 8 p.m. accident.
Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said in July that he felt that one of the problems with the case hinged on the way the texting and driving law was written in 2010, because prosecutors had to prove that a driver was texting at the exact moment the vehicle caused an accident.
An amended version of the law took effect in May 2012, which now makes it illegal to be doing anything on a hand-held wireless communication device while driving except making or receiving a call, or using GPS navigation.
Defense attorney Douglas Thayer said in July that his client was distracted by a horn, and was not texting and driving in the moments before the accident.