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Driver Banned From Cell Phone Use After Fatal Crash

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Cell Phone in Car

As part of her sentence for hitting and killing a bicyclist while driving distracted last fall, a 23-year-old Michigan woman is being forbidden from owning a cell phone or any portable communications device for the full duration of her two-year probation.

Mitzi Nelson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the death of Jill Byelich in September of last year. Police say that Byelich was riding on the right edge of the road and wearing appropriate safety apparel when she was struck and killed by Nelson, who was occupied with her cell phone at the time of the collision.

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Nelson’s punishment will include two years of probation and no fewer than 90 days in jail, as well as an obligation to speak about the dangers of distracted driving at 20 driver’s education classes and perform 150 hours of community service.

Oddly enough, she is also expressly prohibited from owning or using a cell phone for the entirety of her probation. Her driver’s license, however, is only being suspended for a year.

This punishment was issued at the behest of Jordan Byelick, Jill’s husband, who also hugged Nelson before she was led off to prison on Wednesday.

“I thought the judge thought it through very well and looked at all the factors on both sides,” he said after the hearing.

Nelson will begin the first 30 days of her jail term immediately and will serve another 30 days next spring. Nelson’s full sentence calls for six months, but the final 90 days will be deferred based on behavior. Nelson is also ordered to pay more than $15,600 in restitution and $1,500 in fines, fees, and costs.

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News Source: Freep