In 2009, David and Linda Kubert were on their motorcycle about a mile from their home in New Jersey. They noticed a Chevy truck coming in the opposite direction that was starting to swerve. David then noticed the driver of the truck had his head down and his elbows up on the wheel while he was texting.
The truck came across the median and hit the Kubert’s head on. While on the ground, David noticed his leg was torn off. He yelled to his wife to see how she was doing and she said that she saw leg bones protruding through her pants. David and Linda each lost one leg in the accident.
The driver of the truck, Kyle Best, pleaded guilty to three motor vehicle violations, including using a handheld device.
As unusual as it is for two people on a motorcycle to each lose a leg in an accident, the lawsuit filed by the Kubert’s is even more unusual – because the Kubert’s are also suing the person who was texting Kyle Best at the time of the accident.
Kyle Best was exchanging texts with his girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, at the time of the accident – they actually exchanged 62 texts that day.
The lawsuit argues that Shannon Colonna was “electronically present” in the crash. The Kubert’s lawyer says that Colonna should have known that Best was driving his truck and because of that her texts were distracting him. Colonna says that she “may have known” that Best was driving his truck while exchanging texts with her. She also said that “this is what teenagers do.”
Personally, I find her comments repulsive, arrogant, and very self-centered considering that two people lost limbs because of the texting they both were doing while Kyle was operating a vehicle.
Legal analysts believe that texting laws only apply to a vehicle operator and not the person the operator is texting – and that the lawsuit, as it applies to Shannon Colonna, is a “leap” and should be dismissed. A judge will rule on whether Shannon Colonna can also be sued in the case. Lawyers for Kyle Best feel that judge’s should not be in the business of lawmaking.
Now, for my two or three cents. My guess is that Kyle Best does not have deep pockets – he possibly has low coverage and he probably does not own any property – nor does he have significant assets like a hefty 401k. As a result, the Kubert’s lawyer is trying to add another party to the lawsuit who might have deeper pockets – and if not, maybe it is just a case of two pockets being deeper than one.
As unfortunate as the accident was, I do not believe the law should be “stretched” to have the lawsuit include Shannon Colonna.
Kyle Best was 18 at the time of the accident. It is not known if Best was living with his parents at the time – nor is it known if his motorcycle was on his parent’s auto policy. If either of those are the case, maybe the parents could be included in the lawsuit because if he was a minor at the time of the accident, maybe the parents could be sued if they knew of his predisposition to drive and text – especially if the phone was in their name on some kind of family plan.
Now it is your turn. I am including a few polling questions that I hope visitors reading this will take part in. Also, please leave a comment – especially if you are a parent of a teen or if you are a teen and you frequently text while driving.