BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — Text messages about “possible speed and reckless driving” were sent just prior to a fatal crash that killed one student on her way to prom, according court documents.
The 17-year-old driver, whom WCPO will not identify because she is a minor, is facing two counts of vehicular assault and one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, the Butler County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
The driver lost control of the car on Millikin Road and struck a telephone pole, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the car’s backseat passengers, Kaylie Jackson, 17, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. She died of her injuries three days later.
The driver and the other two passengers were treated at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and released.
“Occupants from the vehicle stated there were text messages or video sent prior to the crash concerning possible speed and reckless driving,” according to an affidavit for a search warrant for any device “capable of sending or receiving any text messages, photographs, or making any voice calls.”
A pink cellphone was found on the dash of the Tesla, according to the affidavit.
The court document does not say who sent the texts or video. Nor does it say who is the owner of the phone.
The driver is scheduled to be in Butler County Juvenile Court for an initial appearance before a magistrate on May 24.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he made the decision to keep charges against the driver in the juvenile court system because the investigation revealed “no intentional conduct” to raise the severity of the charges.
Gmoser said speed was “one factor” in the fatal crash but there are others to support the aggravating circumstance of the charge. He noted there is no indication that alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
“That is what people usually think when they hear a charge like this, but there can be other circumstances,” Gmoser said. He declined to specify the circumstances in this case.
If convicted, the driver could be sentenced to the Juvenile Detention Center in Columbus until her 21st birthday, Gmoser said.
The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO.com.