Sonoma teenage driver sentenced to 5 days in jail for texting death


Kaitlyn Dunaway and her defense attorney

(KTSF by Angelina Wong)

18 year old Kaitlyn Dunaway of Rohnert Park, was sentenced today in connection with the collision at Snyder Lane and Medical Center Drive in Rohnert Park on December 1, 2010, in which 2-year-old Calli Murray was killed and her mother, Ling Murray, was seriously injured, while crossing the intersection.  On September 22, 2011,  Dunaway pled no contest to vehicular manslaughter.  Prosecutors said Dunaway caused Calli’s death by driving while texting on her cell phone, driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions and failing to yield right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk.  Today, Dunaway received a grant of probation and 120 days in county jail.  She must surrender to serve 5 days in custody on December 27, 2011, with the remainder to be served on home electronic confinement.  She is allowed to go to school during probation and she must also perform 200 hours of community service.

Ling Murray, an immigrant from China, wrote a letter in Chinese and asked her friend to translate it into English and read it in court today.  “The death of my daughter caused tremendous pain to me.  I lost my child during my mid life.  I still cannot walk out from this shadow.  Whenever I saw other children, or my daughter’s toys or photos at home, I could not hold my tears”  Murray said.

Murray said the sentence is too light. “I think she should go to jail.  I think the sentence is not fair to me and to my daughter,” she said.

Judge DeMeo ordered Dunaway to speak at various groups to discuss the danger of texting and driving, and the effect it has had on her life.  Jeff Murray and Al Andres, Calli’s father and grandfather respectively, were granted their request for notification regarding future speaking engagements so that they can appear and speak in addition to Dunaway to give the victims’ perspective.  In court today, Calli’s family spoke about the devastating effects their entire family has suffered, emotionally, physically, and financially.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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