Woman Guilty in Fatal Cell Phone Crash
Updated: Friday, 02 Oct 2009, 8:27 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 02 Oct 2009, 2:59 PM CDT
HOUSTON - A 24-year-old woman must wait until at least Monday to learn her fate after a jury found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide because she was talking on a cell phone when she got into a fatal car crash.
Jeri Montgomery was convicted Friday afternoon, nearly a day after the jury began deliberating whether her cell phone use contributed to the March 2008 car accident that killed 25-year-old Chance Wilcox.
Jurors immediately went into the sentencing phase Friday afternoon, but the judge allowed jurors to disband Friday evening. They were ordered to return at 9:30 a.m. Monday to determine Montgomery's punishment.
Montgomery faces between two and 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
The accident took place on Interstate 45, the North Freeway, near FM 2920 when Montgomery's car hit the truck that Wilcox was in and caused it to roll several times, according to the indictment against her.
Wilcox was thrown from the truck and killed.
The indictment against Montgomery says she made an unsafe lane change and failed to be aware of other vehicles on the road. Wilcox's relatives say that investigators told them that Montgomery was trying to balance her steering wheel and cell phone, but Harris County Assistant District Attorney Brent Mayr had neither confirmed nor denied that cell phone use was a factor in the accident.
John Choate, Montgomery's defense attorney said in a statement that "(t)here were no drugs, no alcohol. It was just a wreck. I've heard they'll bring evidence that she was on the phone, but she was not on the phone."
Verdict Reached in Cell Phone Crash Trial | MyFoxHouston.com
A few interesting details about this accident not included in the article. Montgomery was in the right lane and after concluding her telephone call realized she was missing her exit so she shot over to the exit lane where she was rear ended by another vehicle then slammed into the back of Wilcox truck lifting the rear end up and over causing the rollover that ejected him from the vehicle. She did not flee the accident scene.