Woman convicted in texting-while-driving case
FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has been convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of a pedestrian that prosecutors said occurred as the driver was texting, an accusation the defendant denied on the stand.
Monmouth County prosecutors said Alexandra Mansonet rear-ended another car that struck Yuwen Wang as she was crossing a street in Hazlet in September 2016. Wang, 39, who was on a break from her job at the nearby International Flavors and Fragrances plant, died five days later.
Prosecutors argued that Mansonet, 50, was distracted by a text about dinner plans in New York City from her former sister-in-law that said “Cuban, American, Mexican, pick one.”
Mansonet said she read the message before leaving. She said she was looking down to turn on her rear defogger before striking the car. Prosecutors questioned why the text was unanswered, although the letters “M” and “e” had been typed, and Mansonet said she didn’t remember having typed them.
Mansonet put her head down and cried as the verdict was announced Friday after about two days of jury deliberation. Prosecutors said she faces a five- to 10-year term and will be required to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before being eligible for parole.
Defense attorney Steven Altman said he was disappointed by the verdict.
“It’s going to be very difficult for her to deal with the fact that at sentencing, she could possibly be incarcerated for something we are all guilty of on a daily basis,” he said.
Wang’s widower, Steven Qiu, hung his head when he heard the verdict. “Absolutely, it brings a lot of comfort to me and my family,” he said later, the Asbury Park Press reported.