On Sunday afternoon, May 2, 2009, Anita Zaffke, 56, was on her motorcycle waiting for the light to turn green. From all indications, she was extremely conscientious about safely operating her bike, including wearing hi-viz clothing.
She never knew what hit her, most likely.
It was an automobile being driven by Lora L. Hunt. Although I use the term "driven" loosely. The car never even slowed down. After the accident, Ms. Hunt told attending officers that she had been painting her fingernails at the time of the accident. Nail polish was on the airbag, and all over the inside of the car.
Anita Zaffke's son Greg paints his fingernails black in memory of his mom. He has also formed the Black Nail Brigade, the "Foundation Against Distracted Driving."
Hunt was convicted of criminally reckless homicide on May 6, 2010.
I find this troubling...
Her defense attorney says that if she'd been eating a sandwich or dialing a cell phone instead of polishing her nails, she wouldn't have been convicted.
And the prosecutor said, "It is not the same as biting a sandwich - it's a voluntary disablement. She might as well have been in the back seat making a sandwich."
To me, his comment implies that if you kill somebody with your car while eating a sandwich, it's somehow forgivable.
I can hear it now! "Citizens of the jury! My client didn't intend to kill anybody when she was texting behind the wheel... it was just a tragic accident."
People! That car is a missile - a lethal weapon! Anything you do while driving it, that distracts you from safely operating that vehicle, is your responsibility! And the driver should be held accountable! I don't care if it's eating, or putting on makeup, or texting or phoning, or adjusting your defrost, or being distracted by kids in the back seat. There is no excuse for your car being uncontrolled while you are distracted. If you can't deal with that, get out and walk!
As the victim's son says, "There is no legal difference between unintentional recklessness and intentional recklessness to establish the charge of Reckless Homicide ... No one is saying that Lora Hunt intended to kill Anita Zaffke, nor that she intended to kill anyone, nor even that she intended to be reckless. But no one can deny that Lora Hunt was recklessly oblivious of another human being."