Witness Discloses He Was Just On the Phone with the Driver…Oh really?

This accident demonstrates the importance of a good investigation and the difficulty of proving the at-fault driver was distracted by a cell phone call that led to a collision. Here is what happened. The date is January 13, 2010 and the location is 1301 Siebenthaler Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. Sorry all you Buckeyes but I’m picking on you again. Seems lately it’s pretty easy to do. Let’s get back to the facts of this accident. An adult female is driving her car, for some reason crosses the center line and causes a head-on collision with an oncoming car. A passenger in the struck vehicle is taken to the hospital, but the driver is reported to be uninjured.

Dayton PD shows up to investigate and while interviewing a witness discovers it’s the at-fault driver’s boyfriend who blabs that he was on the phone with her when she collided with the other car. Oh really? Well thanks for that little tidbit of information. The police were smart enough to pick up on this terrific admission and cite the girlfriend driver for failure to maintain control over her vehicle. Those injured in the other car ought to sue her for punitive damages for being so distracted with a cell phone that she’s can’t even stay on her own side of the road. See below the video for a further explanation. And by the way these are the morons you’re allowing to drive with only $12,500 of coverage. Good luck when you run into one of them.

Here is a distracted driver marathon.

And in the civil case she will probably have to deal with a claim about whether or not driving while using a cell phone is a distraction that makes the driver grossly negligent, entitling those injured in the accident to punitive damages. Here is the reporters quote from the story. If you have further information please contact the reporter at

“Dayton Police Sgt. Clarence West said a female passenger in the struck vehicle was transported to Miami Valley Hospital. The driver of that vehicle, a male, was not injured. The female driver of the vehicle who caused the accident was sited for failure to control the vehicle, West said.

He said the officer investigating the accident reported that the driver’s boyfriend, who showed up after the accident, said he was talking on the phone to the driver when the accident occurred. West said some sort of driver inattention could have caused the accident, but that he could not verify whether the woman was on the phone or not at the time of the accident.”

Had the boyfriend not shown up and spilled the beans, would the driver have volunteered she was on a call at the time she drifted over the center line? Probably not. Was the other driver astute enough to look to see if the at-fault driver had a cell phone with her? Was the injured passenger incapacitated and unable to see, hear or ask questions about the at-fault driver’s use of a cell phone at the time of the collision? Will anyone ask if the at-fault driver was distracted with a cell phone? Will the at-fault driver tell the truth when answering these questions?

TIP: If you’re exchanging information following an accident, casually request as part of the other driver’s contact information their cell phone number.

Later that day there was a 5-car pileup on this same stretch of road, U.S. 35 east of Woodman Drive in Dayton.

There is a reason why in closing many of these posts I say we’re happy to answer your questions and if you’re considering contacting a lawyer do it sooner rather than later. Most people aren’t aware that the father you get from the date of the collision the harder it is to obtain cell phone records to show the call log that will show the exact time of a cell phone conversation and the identity of the caller. Wait and you do so to your own peril.

Thinks its okay to drive distracted? Think again. And if as a resident of Ohio you have questions following an accident or injury call my colleague Nick DiCello at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber


Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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