Driver accused of updating Facebook in fatal crash

A Chicago area woman who hit a pedestrian is accused in a wrongful death lawsuit to have been updating her Facebook status on her cell phone at the time of the incident.

Driving doesn't need distractions.

Yet somehow, the more gadgets and gizmos come attached to a car, and the more they become so portable that they can be taken into a car, the greater the chance of something going wrong.

The latest alleged instance of gadget-obsession allegedly causing tragedy comes in a Chicago lawsuit.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a woman was driving and updating her Facebook status when she hit a 70-year-old man who had stepped out of his car. CNET hasn't yet been able to get a copy of the lawsuit, but we have confirmed its existence with the Cook County Circuit Court and double-checked party information.

The victim, Raymond Veloz, reportedly died of his injuries, his leg having been partially severed. He reportedly bled to death. Veloz had only stepped out of his own car, after being involved in a minor road accident with another vehicle, according to the Tribune.

The dangers of driving and using your cell phone are all too clear. Cc Okayryan/Flickr

The suit, filed by Veloz' daughter Regina Cabrales, reportedly claims that the driver, Araceli Beas, updated her Facebook status at 7:54 a.m., via her cell phone. This, the claimant alleges, was precisely the same time that Veloz had made a 911 call.

Beas--as well as the driver with whom Veloz had had an accident--reportedly told police at the time that her ability to see had been adversely affected by the sun.

In the event of this lawsuit proceeding further, it will be interesting to see whether Veloz' lawyers can prove that Beas' Facebook status was updated while she was driving.

Her mother reportedly told the Tribune on Tuesday that her daughter's update--saying that she needed to go to the gym--was written while waiting for her car to warm up outside her boyfriend's house. The house is two miles away from the accident scene.

Cabrales' lawyer, David Wise, reportedly told the Tribune that he needed to discover whether the timing mechanisms of both Veloz' cell phone and Beas' were in sync. He also needed to be clear as to whether Beas' Facebook page did, in fact, update immediately.

He added: "We will find out from the system how those times are recorded. We are going to subpoena everything."

 

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