Vancouver man sentenced to 5 years for fatal car accident attributed to texting

The Seattle Times reports that Antonio Cellestine of Vancouver has been sentenced to 60 months in prison for Vehicular Homicide after he hit a bicyclist who was riding home from work.

Cellestine was text messaging his girlfriend when his car veered into the bicycle lane and he hit and killed Gordon Patterson a 50-year-old high school teacher in September of 2009. Records from Cellestine’s cell phone proved that he was text messaging using his cell phone prior to and during the car accident.

A person can be convicted for Vehicular Homicide if a person was killed and the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.

Cellestine’s conviction is thought to be the first Vehicular Homicide conviction due to text messaging in Washington. This conviction comes at a time when the state legislature is considering making texting and using a hand-held cell phone in the state a primary offense.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in a car or bicycle accident and the family of those killed. If you believe your car accident was a result of someones negligent use of a cell phone, read “What if my accident was caused by someone using a cell phone?”

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.