Archive for Monday, September 12, 2011

Lawrence 16-year-old ticketed for texting while driving before rollover accident

September 12, 2011


Douglas County Sheriff’s officers have ticketed a 16-year-old Lawrence girl for texting while driving after she rolled the vehicle she was driving Saturday night on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence.

Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said Kendal Williams lost control while driving at 8 p.m. Saturday, and the eastbound vehicle rolled into the south ditch near County Road 1057 about 2 miles east of Lawrence. Lewis said Williams, the only occupant in the vehicle, refused to be taken to the hospital. Medics Saturday said she was treated at the scene. Officers listed driver inattention and use of the cellphone as contributing factors to the crash and cited her for driving without a valid driver’s license and texting while driving, which carries a $60 fine plus court costs, Lewis said.


imastinker 6 years, 8 months ago

When I was 16 my parents removed the radio from the car so I wouldn't be distracted playing with the radio.....I wonder what they would have done if we had cell phones!!

I don't mean to make light of this, it's very sad. I hope there is a bunch of other young drivers that read this article and learn from it. It's good to hear she's OK though, this could have been much worse!

Bud Stagg 6 years, 8 months ago

I think they should tack on charges for all the emergency response people as well. Probably a few thousand bucks.

kansasredlegs 6 years, 8 months ago

Sounds good on a blog and in theory, but these folks are paid pretty well to respond to "our" bad choices at times. Based on your suggestion, perhaps we should have a "use" fee as the way to pay for our City / County services. Wait, you're on to something there. Since, I don't ever call the police and I don't have any kids in school, I wouldn't have to pay under your theory. I'm sold, what a great idea!

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

They're paid by our tax dollars.

I'd prefer that those go towards situations that can't be avoided rather than ones that result from simply making bad choices.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

And it's ok with you that we all pay because people fail to take elementary precautions and act sensibly?

There's an obvious difference between playing a sport and playing one without the correct protective gear, for example.

LA_Ex 6 years, 8 months ago

The accident happened out in the county, I'm pretty sure all of the county fire departments are volunteer. And as far as "paid pretty well", I'm wondering how much money it would take for you to run into a burning, smoke filled building. I'm guessing that figure is probably more than they get paid.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I once saw a huge and spectacular event that occurred in downtown Lawrence in 1978 or 1979.

A big crowd had gathered to watch a huge fire burning one of the downtown buildings to the ground, and I'm not talking about the time the basement of the Pier One store exploded with a few tragic fatalities. (I saw that one too, BTW) This one happened not long after that one, and was on the east side of Mass St., and I think about one block north of the Peir One fire.

One fireman ventured out onto a burning floor that had already partly collapsed and was really sloping downward through a window of the still standing front wall. I don't know why he took such a huge risk, but it was possibly to make sure there were no survivors that needed to be rescued.

While he was standing on it, it collapsed even more. The crowd gasped in horror at a sight that you normally see only on television or in the movies.

Then, another fireman tossed him a rope, and using that, he was able to get back up the now very steeply sloped floor, and he made it out only a minute or two before that whole floor collapsed with a huge roar and billow of smoke. A few moments after that, the whole building was ablaze with a fireball.

It appeared that the fire hoses that the firemen had to use only served to slow the total destruction of the building by a few minutes.

It turned out that the building was unoccupied at the time, so there were no injuries or fatalities. Except that one fireman came very close to death that night.

There is no amount of money that would be enough to get me to venture out onto a second floor of a burning building that had already partly collapsed and was already sloping down so much like that.

Bud Stagg 6 years, 8 months ago

That's not what I said. I think people who violate the law and cause an emergency response, should pay for it. Not us. Accidents happen, texting and crashing is not an accident, it's a choice. Drinking and crashing is a choice as well. You can have a regular accidental crash, that's free. You have to pay extra for dumb choices.

Bud Stagg 6 years, 8 months ago

Violate the law, not negligence. Tire blows, deer, pothole, etc.

granddame 6 years, 8 months ago

$60 fine is not enough for no valid license and inattentative driving (texting?). I agree with Joehawk, tack on other charges. A few teens and adults would probably take their chances knowing that $60 and court costs is all they have to pay... or that their parents would have to pay. How about $150 minimum. That might discourage some. But, the word needs to get out that there is a stiff fine. Lucky she didn't get hurt or kill someone. Will this be a lesson learned?? Who knows?

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

The fine doesn't include court costs. Not sure how much court costs are, but i believe they are well over $100.

Hopefully the knowledge that she could have killed herself or an innocent person is more of a deterrent than paying the court a couple of hundred dollars. Additionally, the embarrassment of having of her name plastered in the newspaper will be in her memory for the foreseeable future, and will probably help correct her poor judgment.

Our state legislature is not known for passing effective legislation. This law is one of the exceptions, as proven by the facts of this accident.

Kids, please don't text and drive. The next accident could be your own.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

The knowledge that drinking and driving or texting and driving can result in injury or death is not much of a deterrent to those activities, as far as I can tell.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

Your experiences may be different from mine, but at least when it comes to young people, you can lecture them all night long about an issue, but because of their immaturity they simply don't think the associated dangers can befall them. When it does happen to them, at least for some kids, its an eye-opening behaviorally modifying experience.

In this case, anyway, experience trumps knowledge.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

That may be true.

But, the first accident can easily be one that has fatalities.

And, many people are repeat offenders as well, even after accidents.

It's just not enough.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 8 months ago

For many people it is. The big issue comes down to younger drivers, high school and college drivers who just don't respond to the current information about drinking and driving or texting and driving.

The UK has a very graphic PSA they air to deter texting while driving.

Maybe it's time to step up the rhetoric.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

Yup, court costs are a lot more. But I think you're right that the accident itself potentially will be more of a deterrent to keep her from texting while driving than any $$ penalties.

Unfortunately kids...and we were just like them once...think they're invincible. So who knows.

Nowadays I know so many kids who argue "I can text without looking at the screen, so I'm keeping my eyes on the road!" However, when I ask them "So how do you read the texts being sent to you"?" they start hemming and hawing. Haven't heard a good answer yet.

I'm just glad no one was hurt. Too often it's the innocent person who suffers from the poor driving habits of others.

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

How would they know she was texting? I would think that is almost impossible to prove. Maybe she just offered it up?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

The cell phone companies keep a record with a time stamp for every text message, just like LJWorld does with our comments here.

But I do not know how forthcoming the cell phone companies are with that information, but if that becomes a problem, it could be quickly corrected with action by the legislature by the state.

I am sure that the cell phone companies would much rather begin to comply with any new law, rather than suffer the consequence of no longer having the privilege of offering cell phone service in Kansas.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, no. They'd rather protect your privacy than cave to those sorts of threats. Typically it takes a warrant to get cell records... as it should.

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

Should have told them she swerved to miss an animal. Saved her parents a few bucks.

WilburM 6 years, 8 months ago

Sure, just lie. Wonderful values to pass on.

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

Nothing wrong with saving some money. I would think that flipping your car would scare you enough not to do it again. If not, a $60 ticket won't do the trick either.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes...there is something wrong with "saving some money" when it requires that you lie to save it.

Never mind that she would be in far more trouble if she lied to the police. Or to the insurance company. (And, yes, it would cost more money as a result.)

You do realize that arguing that there's nothing wrong with lying if it's to save money means that it's OK for people to lie to you, too? To cheat you? To rip you off? Are you still OK with it? I mean, as long as it's only to "save some money", you should be OK with being lied to and ripped off yourself, right? Right???

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

You don't have to flip your own car to scare you enough to not ever do it yourself.

Just being a passenger in a car driven by a careless driver that does it is enough.

I know that from personal experience.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

It's a crime to lie to law enforcement, however it's not a crime for law enforcement to lie to regular citizens. Just one more double standard law enforcement enjoys, just wanted to point out this fact.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

Law enforcement officers are trained to lie and manipulate citizens of America...too bad somewhat pathetic.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

Being ignorant and naive will get you no where! You must work for johnny law!

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

May I suggest removing the taps from my house, i may decide to stop giving away all law enforcement secrets.

Ricky_Vaughn 6 years, 8 months ago

$60? Don't they fine you more for not wearing a seatbelt? Which is more dangerous....?

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

$10 for seatbelt infraction I believe.

Shane Powers 6 years, 8 months ago

$40 is the price to play that game. Used to be $10 until they instituted the "Click it or ticket" policy under which they will actually pull you over for no reason other than not wearing your seat belt.

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

I doubt the trouble that would take would be worth $60.

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree, but nearly impossible to get it down to the exact moment. One could always argue about the exact time of the crash etc... And like I said, is it worth it over a $60 fine?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

If a text message is not about the accident, but instead of about some trivial thing, it would not take Dr. Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

But you would have a very valid point, if no one discovers the accident for a while.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

justanotherface, the point is not whether she was texting during the time of the accident, but whether she was texting while driving before it, or while driving at all.

That's a driving infraction, and certainly merits a traffic citation.

blindrabbit 6 years, 8 months ago

Was she also, eating, applying makeup, reading and lollygagging?

Cai 6 years, 8 months ago

actually - doesn't matter, legally.

As of July 1, 2011, texting while driving became a ticketable offence.

Applying makeup, reading, and 'lollygagging' still aren't. Whether that's 'right' or not is a different question. But in the eyes of the law ...

Likely this law also gives the police some permissions that allow them to get at the information of when/if she was.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 8 months ago

16 She hadn't developed all the skills listed by b/rabbit yet, but was working on honing them

rumor_man 6 years, 8 months ago

Look at the bright least she wasn't sexting.

classclown 6 years, 8 months ago

DRsmith (anonymous) says…

How would they know she was texting? I would think that is almost impossible to prove. Maybe she just offered it up?


They subpoena phone records. The records can tell them not only if she was using the phone at the time of the accident, but whether it was a voice call or text messaging.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

And perhaps the phone was just sitting there in plain view? I don't know about the rest of you, but if I'd just rolled my car, the first thing I'd do would be to get the h*ll out of the car!!

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

Subpoena for phone records for a $60 fine? I really hope they wouldn't spend our tax dollars doing that.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Not this time. But if someone was injured or killed, that would be an entirely different matter.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

There are a few comments here about how small the amount of her fines were. Only the first comment, cheeseburger's, really pointed out anything about the real cost of just about any ticket for a traffic infraction.

That is, the amount that your insurance cost increases over the next three years is much, much greater than the amount of the ticket.

Someone is going to have a very rude surprise when their car insurance policy comes up for renewal.

But, the reported fact that she got fined practically nothing for not having a valid driver's license does amaze me.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

I am not well versed in insurance company procedures, but I don't think most companies will raise your rates on the basis on one moving violation, unless it is serious such as fleeing and eluding, DUI, reckless driving, etc.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

It depends on the insurance company. I think that some do not, but I do know for a fact that (an unnamed well known insurance company) does.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

But I think there is an exception. That is, if you get a speeding ticket for less than 10 mph over the speed limit, it does not go on your driving record, and will not affect your insurance rates.

Unless you get caught repeatedly. That might be different.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

You are right. Speeding violation less than ten mph over the speed limit are, by law, not reported to the State of Kansas and are therefore never become a "black mark" on one's official driving record.

I know one person who travels a lot and frequently is issued speeding citations. He will go to the expense of hiring a lawyer to negotiate the ticket down to less than ten miles an hour over the speed limit--but will typically agree to pay the full fine and court costs--so the violation will not go against his driving record. he claims the money spent on attorneys is well worth the cost, as it avoids insurance rate increases and suspension of his license due to excessive violations. I suggested to him that wouldn't it be cheaper to simply slow down and not get the tickets in the first place. He said no, that his time was valuable and that the time he saved by speeding more than made up the cost of tickets and attorney fees.

Lets hope he doesn't kill himself or someone else.

TimW 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't want to take away from the content of the article, but can someone clarify the whole "court costs" thing for me?

I don't claim to have a perfect driving record. I don't and have received moving violations in two different states in the past. The citations I received contained a fine, which I paid and that was the end of it (except for the insurance stuff), but whenever I see the fine schedule referenced here in Kansas there is always a fine of $XX plus court costs.

If I don't challenge the citation and just pay the fine then I never go to court, correct? What are the court costs and how are they determined?

DRsmith 6 years, 8 months ago

Court costs = another way for the county? to raise money. Even if you don't step foot in the court you will still pay them. Usually way more than the actual fine.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

A portion of the court costs, by law, goes to the State of Kansas. Only a portion is retained by the county.

Steve Bunch 6 years, 8 months ago

Part of this fee goes to finance law enforcement training statewide.

Steve Bunch 6 years, 8 months ago

I forgot to mention that law enforcement training in Kansas is administered by KU in conjunction with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Commission.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

Also, part of each fee goes to help finance each local county law library, typically housed in the county court house.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

TimW, you need to think of it this way:

"Court costs" are like sales tax on a traffic ticket. This may clarify the matter:

LolaCat 6 years, 8 months ago

How does a $60 fine even come close to an adequate punishment? If this girl would have rolled the other way into oncoming traffic she would have killed herself and others.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

If an 80 year old driver ever gets ticketed for texting while driving, I'm sure it will make the news.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

No doubt, an 80 year old knowing how to text is CRAZY!

Irenaku 6 years, 8 months ago

A $60 fine plus court costs??? She should pay a $600 fine plus court costs and have her license suspended for one year. How else will people, teenagers or adults, learn NOT to text while driving? She could have killed someone!!!

labmonkey 6 years, 8 months ago

Texting while driving should carry the same consequences as a DUI.

TimW 6 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the info guys!

Sort of similar to being issued a speeding ticket in New York State, then receiving a letter in the mail nearly nine months later explaining how "The State of New York requires all drivers accumulating six or more points in one calendar year to pay a $300 state surcharge". And of course, your one citation was worth exactly six points.

Just another way to accumulate/allocate money.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey wait a minute TimW. I got a scam email from "New York State" alerting me to the fact that I owned the state of New York something for a speeding violation a few months back and I needed to pay.

I knew I was innocent because I had not driven in New York since 1974!

rking1118 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

If i were the parent of the young lady, instead of giving her money for the fine and court costs and requiring her to pay it back to me, I would accompany her to the court date where she pleads guilty, and ask the judge that instead of imposing a monetary fine and court costs, that the court order her to do community service (and the law does allow for community service in lieu of payment of fines and costs). Her specific community service would be speaking at school assemblies on the dangers of texting while driving.

A message along the following lines might be highly persuasive to other teens: "I was lucky neither I nor an innocent bystander or passenger was seriously injured or killed. I learned from my mistake, and I want you to learn my mistake as well. Don't text and drive."

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

Sure it's already out there. But some kids need to be beat over the head with it.

blindrabbit 6 years, 8 months ago

Too big a hurry to get somewhere; life is so fleeting for a 16 year old. Was she wearing diapers, seems like I heard this before.

ResQd 6 years, 8 months ago

I hope her parents at least ground her for a month :)

youarewhatyoueat 6 years, 8 months ago

Jeez, I was 16 11 years ago, and to me back then $60 was a lot of money (and arguably still is), and my parents certainly would've made me pay for it--whether I had a job or not. That said, I'd still support something slightly stiffer punishment-wise, such as a suspension of her license and/or required driving classes.

LadyJ 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 8 months ago

Looks like someone won't be allowed to get their license until they turn 18 now. Good job...

Driving age needs to be raised to 18 anyways, so no loss.

labmonkey 6 years, 8 months ago

How old were you when you got your license? If you received it before you were 18, then you are being disingenuous.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 8 months ago

My personal situation was vastly different than probably 99.9% of posters commenting on this story, lol. So, while I got my US license at 16 I wasn't able to drive until after I was 17 since I grew up in Europe. Thanks to that (and STRICT rules from my parents), I know how to operate a motor vehicle better than those 99.9% as well... Living in Lawrence for the past five years (NE KS for ten) shows that to be fact. ;)

So, again, the driving age needs to be raised and driver's training/testing needs to be much harder/more educational. The stereotype of Americans getting their driver's license out of a Cracker Jack box exists for a reason.

John Hamm 6 years, 8 months ago

About time! This should be front page headline! Let the idiots know.

verity 6 years, 8 months ago

If she didn't have a valid driver's license, who gave her access to a car? I don't think she could get credit without someone signing, so unless she paid cash, she probably couldn't have bought a car without her parents knowing. I think there is more to this story---if her parents or any adult let her use their car, are they legally liable?

LadyJ 6 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't figure out why my comment was removed until I realized it was because I included the other user's comment which was also removed. Somebody was really on the ball.

kscityrobber 6 years, 8 months ago

I find this amusing. Not the accident, the citation for texting. Because ALL eudora cops are either texting or on there phones everytime you see them driving around town...

LadyJ 6 years, 8 months ago

I see a surprising number of elementary school kids walking across busy streets with their eyes on their cell phone and texting. Parents need to check their kids cell phones to see if they are texting while walking to and from school. Note that I said elementary school age children.

verity 6 years, 8 months ago

I am one of the over sixties who only has a cell phone---cheaper and much more convenient than a land line. Due to the technology at the time, in grade and high school most of my friends were long distance and I couldn't speak with them on the phone. That probably did put a crimp on my social life that wasn't beneficial. However, I fail to see the benefit of being in constant contact with other people---quite frankly it seems to be a negative to me. Have we lost the ability to just be by ourselves with the thoughts in our own brains?

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