Suffolk Driver Accused of Texting Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter
Distracted driving kills and maims. This week, a Suffolk driver accused of texting when he caused a fatal crash pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
The 19-year-old admitted involuntary manslaughter and texting while operating a vehicle, WAVY reported.
The man from Suffolk was charged in connection with a crash that killed one motorist and injured another in April. He admitted two charges in front of a Suffolk judge Thursday.
While Camren Lamar Artis pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and texting while operating a vehicle, a reckless driving charge was nolle prossed, stated Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney George Bruch. The judge accepted Artis’ plea.
The charges followed a three-vehicle crash on Godwin Boulevard near Five Mile Road on April 3, 2017. Police said the accident involved two cars and a pickup truck. The crash claimed the life of 57-year-old old Duke F. Doyle, of Suffolk. The driver of the pickup sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Brunch said post-hearing:
“Mr. Artis, after his attorney evaluated the law, decided to take responsibility for his action, and came in and entered his plea of guilty involving the death of an individual due to his texting while driving resulting in involuntary manslaughter and the judge did accept his plea.”
Artis’ vehicle rear-ended another vehicle which then sustained a head-on hit from a third vehicle.
A search warrant affidavit revealed Artis claimed the vehicle in front of him stopped suddenly. However, his vehicle left skid marks that were inconsistent with his statement. The document revealed that Artis had a cell phone with him. The phone was seized by police.
Brunch warned the case of the Suffolk driver who was texting was not an isolated incident. He warned the action of drivers taking their eyes off the road to text for a few moments can prove tragic and lead to charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Brunch warned prosecutors and police are seeing more and more instances of texting and driving leading to serious and fatal crashes.
Artis will return to court in Suffolk on June 21 for a sentencing hearing.
Texting and driving has been a primary offense in Virginia since 2013. That means a police officer can stop you if he or she believes you have been texting. Before 2013, a police officer could only consider the issue of texting when a driver was stopped for another reason.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a distracted driver call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077.