Woman gets probation in cell phone case

October 5, 2009 10:06:19 AM PDT
Jeri Montgomery was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide after causing a deadly wreck while talking on her cell phone. As a result, she will serve probation.Both the defense and the prosecution made the same recommendation for punishment. Montgomery will serve 10 years probation. The jury also sentenced her to pay a $10,000 fine. Additionally, the judge sentenced Montgomery to 30 days in county jail.

The terms of Montgomery's probation are fairly restrictive. She must stay in Harris County and she will not be allowed to drive a car. She must also write a 1,000 word essay about the dangers of using cell phones while driving. The essay must be considered suitable for publication within high school newspapers.

Montgomery has also been ordered to pay the victim's funeral costs, and she must complete 400 hours of community service.

Prosecutors say Montgomery was talking on her cell phone back in March 2008, when the car she was driving hit a truck while changing lanes on the North Freeway. The truck she hit rolled several times, ejecting and killing Chance Wilcox.

The jury agreed with prosecutors that Montgomery was distracted because she was talking on a cell phone while driving.

Montgomery testified during the punishment phase of her trial telling the jury she will no longer use a cell phone while driving. In closing arguments, both the defense and the prosecution recommended probation, telling the jury justice was served by the guilty verdict for criminally negligent homicide with a deadly weapon. The defense saying nothing would be served by putting Montgomery in prison.

Meanwhile, the victim's family did not offer comment on punishment, instead the victim's father has this message.

"I love him and I miss him and nothing will bring him back," said Butch Wilcox.

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