Two young women, both found guilty of causing fatal car crashes while using a cell phone behind the wheel, got different sentences for their crimes. Which one do you think was the more appropriate sentence?
Jeri Montgomery, 24, of Humble, TX, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for criminally negligent homicide in a distracted driving case that killed a man.
Montgomery will also have to pay the funeral expenses for the 25-year-old she killed.
Montgomery illegally changed lanes as she tried to get onto a highway on-ramp she had missed seconds after hanging up her call phone.
She will also have to write a 1,000-word essay “suitable for publication in school newspapers,” about the dangers of distracted driving. She’s also lost her drivers’ license until further notice.
Montgomery’s lawyer calls her prosecution “politically motivated,” saying they wanted to make an example out of her.
In Oxford, England, a similar story, but a different sentence.
Phillipa Curtis, 22, was sentenced to 21 months in a high-security prison for killing a 24-year-old woman in a car crash. Curtis’ cell phone records showed she’d been texting-while-driving moments before the crash.
Upon hearing the sentence, prosecutors quickly appealed to Britain’s highest court for a longer prison term, calling 21 months, “unduly lenient.” A judge declined to reconsider the sentence.
Britain’s new guidelines state that using a hand-held phone when causing a death will “always make the offense more serious” in terms of punishment and lead to prison time. This is especially the case for texting.
What do you think about the sentences in these two cases? Was one more appropriate than the other? Has your company banned employees from talking and/or texting on cell phones while driving? Let us know in the Comments Box below.