Prosecutors charged a 16 year old Northland girl Thursday with texting while driving and causing the wrongful death of a 72-year-old, Loretta Larimer.
The texting allegation led to Rachel Gannon’s second-degree involuntary manslaughter charge for the wrongful death of Ms. Larimer. She will stand trial as an adult.
The teenager was texting, looking at her phone and listening to loud music when she lost control of the car. Loretta Larimer, of Camden Point, had pulled off the road in Kansas City, Missouri to avoid the out-of-control vehicle when Gannon hit the vehicle driven by the 72-year-old great-grandmother causing her death.
Gannon is also charged with third-degree assault for injuries suffered by Larimer’s ten-year-old granddaughter who was riding in Larimer’s car. In addition, Gannon is charged with violating the 2009 Missouri law prohibiting drivers 21 and younger from texting while driving.
Her bond was set for $5,000. She was required to surrender her driver’s license as a condition of her bond. If convicted, Gannon could face up to four years in prison for the m manslaughter charge of one year for the assault charge and a $200 fine for texting while driving. She could also face a civil case for wrongful death of convicted of the criminal charges and the granddaughter will have a personal injury case in Missouri.
Gannon told police she was looking at her phone when she lost control of the car. She slid across the road as she tried to regain control hitting Larimer’s car.
A 15-year old passenger in Gannon’s car told police Gannon was texting and looking at her phone when he noticed she was going off the road.
The case caused Missouri Platte County Prosecutor to call for the Missouri General Assembly to prohibit texting while driving for all drivers.
Last year, cell phone use was a factor in 1,837 traffic crashes, according to the MISSOURI Highway Patrol. 587 of those accidents results in personal injuries and 11 involved wrongful deaths. Drivers districted by cell phones have led to 79 wrongful deaths since 2006.