A Kansas City, North teenage girl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter under a 2009 Missouri law that makes it a crime to text while driving.
It’s the first time the law has been invoked in Platte County.
The charges contend 16 year old Rachel Gannon was driving and texting messages when her car ran off, then back onto, a semi-rural two lane blacktop east of KCI Airport on September 26th of 2011.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said he understands the pressures of staying current with social media but, in his words, “no text is worth a life.”
The police investigation showed the Gannon car smashed sideways into one driven by Loretta Larimer and her granddaughter. The 72 year old Camden Point, Missouri woman was killed, the ten year old child injured. The collision happened in the 12200 block of Northwest Skyview Road, not far from Interstate 435.
Investigators said the 10 year old described the Gannon car sliding out of control and that her grandmother drove into a ditch trying to avoid the wreck.
The teenage driver has been charged with second degree involuntary manslaughter, assault and texting while driving. That Missouri law applies only to drivers under age of 21.
Zahnd said he would rather the law apply to every driver of any age and that texting while driving has proven to be more deadly than drunken driving.