Man Faces Manslaughter Trial In Texting Case

A Southern California man accused of killing a pedestrian while driving and text messaging has been ordered to stand trial for gross vehicular manslaughter.

Superior Court Commissioner James Odriozola denied a defense motion Monday to lessen the charge to a misdemeanor after determining there was evidence the crash was caused by more than ordinary carelessness.

Authorities say Martin Kuehl struck and killed nanny Martha Ovalle as she walked in an Orange County crosswalk on Aug. 29, 2008. Odriozola noted that Kuehl did not send or receive texts at the exact time of the crash but did have his cell phone in his hand and had been texting back and forth with a friend prior to the crash.

Kuehl could face up to nine years in prison if convicted.


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  • by Mike on Sep 29, 2009 at 03:29 PM
    Good,Charge him with first degree murder with malice and forethought,then go for the death penalty. Once upon a time there were no radios or other things to distract the driver.Some European manfuactures,such as porche, dont even put cup holders in vehicles because there made for driving not eating drinking etc..
  • by betty Location: cortland on Sep 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM
    I agree with Melissa, we need to stop all things while driving. I've even seen women putting makeup on while driving. I beeped my horn at them and get the finger for doing it. Go figure. This world is a mess.
  • by Melissa Location: Kinston on Sep 29, 2009 at 10:48 AM
    Talking/Texting is no different than playing with the radio, digging in your pocketbook, and so forth. If your gonna fine one, fine them all!!!!!!!!
  • by Me Location: NC on Sep 29, 2009 at 09:09 AM
    I know this can happen any time of day or night but going out at 3:00 a.m. (according to the story) you would think one would be more cautious of the people around him. If I am alone going out of a store I make sure there are other people around me no matter what time of day.
  • by not a cell phone fan Location: goldsboro on Sep 29, 2009 at 08:41 AM
    I do not and will not own a cell phone.I can talk when I get home.No one can tell me you can concentrate on your driving and talk on the stupid thing at the same time.Nine years is not enough for taking an innocent life.
  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on Sep 29, 2009 at 07:54 AM
    This was definitely a careless move on his part. But nine years? The woman who intentionally killed her boyfriend with her vehicle only got three years. This is involuntary manslaughter. Hers was clearly attempted murder.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2009 at 07:51 AM
    I hate this happened. So senseless and avoidable. I PRAY THEY WILL FINE PEOPLE HUGE AMOUNTS IF THEY PASS A LAW. IT HAS TO BE MORE THAN $100.00. THAT SMALL FINE WILL NOT STOP ANYONE FROM TEXTING WHEN THEY DRIVE! The fine needs to be HUGE.
  • by Wilma on Sep 29, 2009 at 07:15 AM
    "Up to 9 years in prison".......he's getting off easy. I'm just glad that he is being held accountable for his actions that took the life of an innocent person. Texting/cell phone use while driving has got to be one of the most disrespectful, ignorant things that drivers can do. I was nearly hit by an idiotic woman walking down the sidewalk, texting away, not even paying attention to the fact that other people use this sidewalk as well. So, I just stopped......she is still not paying attention, and nearly ran into me. Of course, she does this stupid teenager giggle, and walks around me. And, this is while WALKING. Do drivers actually think that they are coherent enough to know about safety on the road when they are texting and driving? Please.....This guy should get 20 years minimum. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Respect others on the road, and be safe. Unfortunately, selfishness, ignorance, and technology are destroying this world right in front of our eyes.
  • by lucky on Sep 29, 2009 at 07:15 AM
    nov. or Dec 09 the law changes you are not allowed to do any type of text email ipod or any thing like that. just google text law in north carolina 09
  • by betty Location: cortland on Sep 29, 2009 at 05:56 AM
    This texting & talking on cells has to stop. It's killing people. Just like drunk driving is.
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