When a judge handed down the maximum sentence to a San Diego woman who was convicted of texting and talking on her phone prior to a fatal crash, the driver tearfully apologized to the victim’s family. However, that apology has come too late for many, including the victim’s mother.
Jorene Ypano Nicolas was sentenced to six years in prison after she slammed into the back of a car on the Orange County Freeway, causing the death of Deanna Mauer, 23. Nicolas told the victim’s family how sorry she was, saying that she would trade places with the young woman if she could. She also said that she wanted to help render aid to the victim at the crash scene but was told to stand back because of the risk of further injury.
However, many people, including the victim’s mother, doubt her sincerity. Immediately after the crash, Nicolas blamed the victim for the accident. She stated that the victim swerved into her lane, leaving her no choice but to hit the center divider. Her conduct after her first trial, which ended in a deadlock, convinced many that she had little remorse for the accident.
Evidence showed that Nicolas sent 13 text messages in the 15 minutes before the crash and had answered a phone call just prior to the impact. Information from the car’s black box showed that she was driving 85 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Witnesses stated that the driver, after hitting Mauer’s car, did not try to render aid but instead went back to her own vehicle to retriever her phone. She made several phone calls immediately after the crash.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the role of a criminal trial and the role of a civil lawsuit when a crash such as this one occurs. Essentially, a criminal trial is about holding the driver accountable for illegal actions such as texting or speeding. The fact that someone was killed affects the severity of the charges, but the criminal trial is not designed to recompense the victim’s family for their loss. Instead, it is designed to punish the wrongdoer for her actions against society in general.
In order to recover monetary damages from a person who caused a crash, the victim or the victim’s family must file a civil lawsuit. If you are facing injuries from a crash, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at San Diego’s Gilleon Law Firm, APC today.