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Driver Sued For Updating Facebook In Fatal Crash

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the heading-to-the-store-for-kzzrjdzodddkla-oh-crap dept.

Facebook 365

An anonymous reader writes "21-year-old Chicago motorist Araceli Beas has been accused of attempting to update her Facebook page on her cell phone when she allegedly struck and killed 70-year-old Raymond Veloz. The victim's daughter, Regina Cabrales, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, asking for an unspecified amount of money. Cabrales alleges in her suit that Beas operated her vehicle without keeping a proper and sufficient focus, drove while using an electronic communication device, and failed to slow down to avoid an accident. As proof, she points to the fact that Beas' Facebook page showed an update posted at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2010, which is the same time that Veloz's cell phone records showed a call being made to 911."

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frist psot (0)

Noog (934684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243604)

roror hi hi hi lol

KIDS! DON'T DO FACEBOOK! (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243900)

proof Facebook kills.

Same time? (2, Interesting)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243610)

I assume the phone call was made AFTER the wreck. If she updated at the same time as the 911 call, wouldn't the update also be AFTER the wreck?

This is, of course, assuming that the person making the call isn't psychic and made the call before the wreck.

Re:Same time? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243644)

I think it's important what was posted. If her status update is "Oops just killed an old guy" then fair enough.

Re:Same time? (2)

Rayveniael (992306) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243672)

I agree, if it was something like OMG I was in a car accident, then really no case. Unless she is just heartless and saying stuff like grr car accident now I'm going to be late for my mani/pedi. ***Or*** maybe she had some server lag and was posting about how angry she was at the pigs because she failed the last level of Angry Birds while driving.

Subject of Facebook Message (5, Informative)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244140)

Rosario Rodriguez said her daughter, Araceli Beas, posted that she needed to go to the gym as she sat in her car while waiting for it to warm up outside her boyfriend’s home near East 80th Street and South Commercial Avenue last Dec. 27.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-womans-mom-denies-facebook-allegation-20110215,0,4906576.story [chicagotribune.com]

Re:Same time? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243732)

The 911 call was made by the victim.

Re:Same time? (2)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243786)

The sequence could have been this:

* Facebook updated at 07:54:03
* Crash occurs at 07:54:06
* 911 call occurs at 07:54:47

It's quite possible that the update, collision and 911 called happened within the same minute.

Re:Same time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244040)

It could also be that the Facebook clock and the 911 clock weren't synchronized, or that there is some delay in processing a Facebook post, with the time reflecting when the processing was done rather than when it was entered. Or maybe the update Facebook was typed before/during the accident, and the person didn't hit send until after the accident.

Re:Same time? (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244074)

Does it really matter if she had 2 seconds to regain her focus on the road after composing and submitting a facebook post? She was still driving recklessly by posting to facebook while driving.

Re:Same time? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244090)

It's even more plausible that the order of events cannot be truly known unless they're synched to the same atomic clock. Variations of 1 minute are easily likely across disparate systems.

Re:Same time? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244116)

Off topic, but the aegidian.org link in your sig seems to be down. http://www.oolite.org/ [oolite.org] appears to be the current webpage (fellow fan of oolite here).

Re:Same time? (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243790)

Maybe it was like the time Elaine bought Jujubes before going to the hospital after hearing a friend was in an accident?

Re:Same time? (5, Insightful)

xerio (1001881) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243860)

The 911 call was about a minor accident the victim had BEFORE she hit him. He was calling 911 about the first accident when she struck him.

Re:Same time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244188)

So he was distracted with his own phone and got into the car?

Re:Same time? (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243882)

I assume the phone call was made AFTER the wreck. If she updated at the same time as the 911 call, wouldn't the update also be AFTER the wreck?

*facepalm* Maybe you need to actually re-read the sentence?

As proof, she points to the fact that Beas' Facebook page showed an update posted at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2010, which is the same time that Veloz's cell phone records showed a call being made to 911."

Notice how it says that Bea's Facebook page was updated at the same time Veloz's cellphone called 911. Veloz is the person that Bea killed. You have worse reading comprehension than a 2nd grader.

Re:Same time? (1)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243980)

Not really. You see, I was going by the summary of the article which implies that Volez was in a wreck with Bea. It also says that Bea was updating to Facebook the same time that Volez called 911. It's not that far of a stretch to assume there was ONE accident, not two (without reading the full article).

Re:Same time? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244054)

There was only one relevant accident. Bea struck a pedestrian - by her account because the sun was in her eyes, by the claimants account because she was facebooking. The first accident is only relevant in that it explains Volez position as a pedestrian where normally no pedestrian would be expected. He was uninjured in the first accident, but called 911 when the second accident, by Bea, cause injuries of which he subsequently died. Your assumption is that it was a car/car accident, or a one-car accident, not a car/pedestrian accident.

Re:Same time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244080)

He still has better reading comprehension than most people I work with. For instance, he understands letters, and the words they form. Maybe even a bit of punctuation.

Re:Same time? (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244134)

From the article...

Veloz [ the dead guy] had exited his vehicle after getting into a minor accident with another motorist at around 7:30 AM. He was standing near the other driver’s vehicle exchanging information when he was struck by Beas [the facebook poster].

Presumably, he was making the call to 911 rather than paying attention to oncoming traffic, which was really his mistake as one should always be paying attention to traffic when on the road, especially when standing in the road. However, it doesn't mean that the presumably distracted driver had any right to ultimately take his life

Re:Same time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244034)

OMG I just hit some old guy LOL

Whoooops (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243612)

Since driving and using a cell phone at the same time are illegal in the city of Chicago, having evidence that the driver was doing so at the time of the accident means the defendant has a rough day in court ahead.

Re:Whoooops (0)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243654)

Oh crap! I just hit somebody! Better submit this status update I was writing.

Please. If they were updating Facebook at the time of the accident, the text would still be on the phone, not on Facebook. You have to hit submit. How is this significant fact being missed?

Re:Whoooops (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243756)

Easy. Sequence of events:

1. Write Facebook update while driving.
2. Hit Submit.
3. Hit old guy while looking up from finishing 2.

Re:Whoooops (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244108)

Possible, sure, but what's more likely? That somebody did those exact sequence of events, which requires no more than about 10 seconds between hitting submit and hitting the person in order to not have time to react (and even that is stretching it pretty damn far, I'd put it more on the order of 1-2 seconds max), or that they hit submit somewhere in the other 50 seconds in that minute? Or maybe the sun in the eyes that caused the first accident, also caused the second?

And of course, this is supposing that the facebook app, over a cell phone connection, actually submits an update the instant you hit submit. In my experience, at least 1 in 4 times, I have to resubmit for it to work at all, and out of the other three, at least 1 will take almost a minute to post, and another will take up to an hour. It is spectacularly unreliable.

I don't think people should be allowed to post on Facebook while they're driving, that's just stupid, but there is an awful lot of supposition going on here, where people are saying "BAM! No question, I'd convict" without having anything more than the informal speculation of the aggrieved, when that means essentially ruining somebody's life.

Re:Whoooops (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243792)

Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing.

Beas' Facebook page showed an update posted at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2010, which is the same time that Veloz's cell phone records showed a call being made to 911."

Meaning Beas did hit submit - at 7:54 AM.

Re:Whoooops (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244180)

Why is it that those who are quickest to accuse others of poor reading comprehension often have the worst? Obviously I know she hit submit, I just question the timing. You would have to hit submit, look up, and be running somebody over. What are the odds? See my above comment for the unreliability of Facebook mobile--that's a pretty thin straw to convict somebody of manslaughter, even if it's only in your head.

Re:Whoooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243802)

Another significant fact that you're missing is that there's 60 seconds in a minute. Let your imagination play with how THAT affects the possible scenarios.

Re:Whoooops (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244230)

No, I'm not missing that fact, you apparently are. How long does it take to accelerate from a full stop, when there is absolutely no danger in writing a novel on a typewriter if that's what you choose to do, to a speed that can rip an old man's leg off? In a 3-cylinder Geo Metro with a flat tire you can do it in probably less than 10 seconds.

I'm not saying the scenario is impossible, where she posted, looked up, and killed someone, but I do think it's unlikely, and there's a lot of more likely scenarios.

Re:Whoooops (0)

t0p (1154575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243758)

But this isn't evidence that Beas was using her phone at the time of the accident. It shows that Beas used her phone at the same time as the 911 call - which obviously was after the accident.

Updating her Facebook status instead of dialling 911 is a mite cold. But is it illegal?

Re:Whoooops (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243888)

No.

It shows that there was a sixty second period where FB was updated, accident happened and 911 call occurred. The order of event is yet to be determined, however, it would seem easy postulate the order based on the Status Update actual content. But don't let the whole 60 seconds thing get in the way of a good /. rumor mongering.

Re:Whoooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243912)

To put it another way: If posting to facebook at the same time as a 911 call is evidence of her culpability, then the 911 call should be evidence of the other driver's culpability.

Re:Whoooops (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243928)

As others have pointed out, the post could have been right before the accident. It could also have been a couple of minutes before or after the accident, depending on the time difference between Facebook's servers, and the victim's mobile.. knowing what the update said would help somewhat. But it seems pretty obvious that it would have been before, because if the tweet was "oops, I just killed someone" then it would be almost guaranteed that it was posted after the crash.

Re:Whoooops (2)

fahlesr1 (1910982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243952)

Updating her Facebook status instead of dialling 911 is a mite cold. But is it illegal?

FTFA: Veloz had exited his vehicle after getting into a minor accident with another motorist at around 7:30 AM. He was standing near the other driver’s vehicle exchanging information when he was struck by Beas. His right leg was partially severed, and he lost too much blood. Veloz was pronounced dead at around 9:30 AM in a nearby hospital.

Two accidents took place here. Veloz had a fender bender with another driver, then Beas hit him with her car. So, before you condemn actions that didn't take place perhaps you should read the full article. Just a thought, feel free to ignore it, just like you did the article.

Re:Whoooops (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244036)

Either way, this Beas guy sounds like a total fucking asshat. Lets throw him in jail anyway.
 
Fucking retard speeding past an accident scene.

Re:Whoooops (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244244)

To be fair Beas was too busy updating facebook to notice the accident. I mean you can only watch one thing at a time and facebook is moreimportant than driving your vehicle safely down the road.

Re:Whoooops (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244002)

Yes, AFTER the FIRST accident perhaps - a minor one involving the victim who was standing by his car after a minor bump exchanging insurance details and other post-accident stuff with another driver when he was hit by Facebook girl because she wasn't looking where she was going. Her excuse was she was blinded by the sun, in which case, why was she driving so fast and not paying extra attention? Driving into oncoming winter sunlight is like driving in fog - slow down!

It's in the FA, but hey, this is /.

May as well... (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243614)

The court may as well just give Veloz every asset that Beas has. After all, Beas basically committed a murder and should be put away for life at a minimum. No need for any assets.

Re:May as well... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243630)

Ironic punishment time. Every one of the victims relatives and friends who desires to do so gets to run over Beas while they update their facebook page.

Re:May as well... (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243830)

Ironic punishment time. Every one of the victims relatives and friends who desires to do so gets to run over Beas while they update their facebook page.

Wouldn't that be considered 'cruel and unusual punishment'? The victim was 70 so his wife would probably take forever to update her status with a cell while driving over Beas.

Re:May as well... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243634)

She's 21. How many assets could she have?

What, are they going to give Veloz her meal plan card and iPod?

Re:May as well... (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243684)

The court will garnish her wages for up to 30 years.

Re:May as well... (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243706)

She's 21. I bet she has some really nice assets.

Re:May as well... (1, Troll)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243794)

She's 21. I bet she has some really nice assets.

She is America dude, big maybe, but nice ... not a chance.

Re:May as well... (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243874)

Well, if you search on facebook for her name, you'll get her page, and now you can judge. Not my pick.

Re:May as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244130)

Kidneys?

Re:May as well... (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243724)

Totally agree if she did it.

When driving a big heavy thing that can easily kill people.. if you don't have the decency to pay attention, then when you do kill someone the penalty should be much steeper than a fine and/or slap on the wrist.

That said, I'd say there are enough questions here that it's 50/50 whether she is guilty or not. Luckily that's what investigations and trials are for.

Re:May as well... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243982)

When driving a big heavy thing that can easily kill people.. if you don't have the decency to pay attention, then when you do kill someone the penalty should be much steeper than a fine and/or slap on the wrist.

Agreed. Could we start by punishing people who drive under the influence? Right now copyright infringers get worse punishments.

Re:May as well... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243950)

Beas basically committed a murder

No, Beas basically allegedly committed vehicular manslaughter, or is there evidence of evil intent you're secretly aware of?

Re:May as well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244114)

Beas basically committed a murder

No, Beas basically allegedly committed vehicular manslaughter, or is there evidence of evil intent you're secretly aware of?

Note that 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter are the same thing in the States. 1st degree == intentional and premeditated. 2nd degree == intentional but not premeditated, "crime of passion" etc, 3rd degree == manslaughter like this if she is found guilty. It is not incorrect to call it murder.

Re:May as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244240)

I think that a serious case for reckless indifference could be made, particularly since she was committing a crime (albeit likely not a felony) at the time. There seems little doubt that this rises at least to the level of second-degree homicide.

Re:May as well... (1)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244110)

The court may as well just give Veloz every asset that Beas has. After all, Beas basically committed a murder and should be put away for life at a minimum. No need for any assets.

Well considering that Veloz was killed those assets are not going to do him much good

If its legal to use a smart phone (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243636)

while driving, then it should be legal to take bong hits.

Ban them from computers.... (0)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243648)

This girl should be given an "appropriate punishment" in that she should be banned from using computers for 10 years... I don't recall what Kevin Mitnick did causing people to die.

(btw: Why is the comment box to enter a comment in FF 3.6.13 only about 30characters wide?)

Re:Ban them from computers.... (2)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243692)

This has nothing to do with computers. She should be banned from driving for life.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243814)

She should be banned from life for life.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (0)

llZENll (545605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243828)

Why should she be banned for driving from life when she was in the wrong place at the wrong time (an accident)? There are millions of people who text, update facebook, and talk on the phone while driving every day, it could happen to you, me, anyone! Her life should not be flushed down the toilet to be made an example of, and we as taxpayers made to support her in prison for the rest of her life at $200k per year in costs, that is utterly ridiculous. The issue is teaching the public how dangerous doing other things while driving is. IMO she should have to take driver safety courses, be banned from driving for a year or two, and do several thousand hours of community service to educate the public on the dangers of using phones while driving.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243984)

There are millions of people who text, update facebook, and talk on the phone while driving every day, it could happen to you, me, anyone!

.

Where I live, it is illegal to do so. If whatever you're doing is distracting your attention from safe control of the 1000-3000kg object travelling at likely more than 30mph, then stop fucking doing it.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244000)

This post is so inconsistent and idiotic I'm assuming it's a troll?

What's This "We" Stuff? (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244014)

The only way it could happen to me is if some JACKASS who doesn't have the common sense and self-discipline required to pay attention when navigating a two-ton vehicle slams into me while I'm driving. Or maybe walking on the sidewalk. It's exactly that sort of jackass that I don't want on the road with me! THAT is why she should be banned from driving for life. Until the OTHER JACKASSES, the ones you are talking about, who suffer from the same problem realize that their behaviors will have serious consequences, they will KEEP DOING WHAT THEY'RE DOING! This is not about vengeance! This is not about someone being at the wrong place at the wrong time! If she'd been PAYING ATTENTION when she was in that place, this WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED!

Re:Ban them from computers.... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244030)

Because she wasn't taking reasonable precautions to prevent or mitigate said accident. Hell, the precaution of not texting is _legally_mandated_ in many states. Maybe the old dude walked our in front of her at the last second, and maybe even a stunt driver couldn't have prevented the accident, but the point is that she had some basic disregard for the safety of others.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244086)

She killed someone while in charge of a motor vehicle, ostensibly while using a phone while driving, but even taking that out of the equation, her defence is that she was "blinded by sunlight" in which case she should have been driving more carefully - much more slowly and with greater attention paid to the scene in front of you which is obscured by the strong light source. Either way, phone or not, she killed someone by being careless. It's no different to her waving a gun around that she's not sure is loaded without looking where she's pointing it and accidentally shooting someone. That would be an accident too, but an avoidable one - just like driving into someone who was involved in another accident shorty before you came across them. You have to look where you're going, and if you can't see far enough ahead to stop in time for any reason you slow the fuck down and increase your concentration even more to be sure that if you do come across something unexpected, like a car stopped in the road, or a pedestrian, or a fallen tree - anything, that you can stop as safely as possible.

There are two applicable laws in the UK (obviously, the US is slightly different, but from my own perspective) - one is "driving without due care and attention" and the other is "death by dangerous driving" - the second one is there because driving a car is a serious responsibility; it's a potentially lethal weapon that requires your attention and respect when in control. If you don't treat it with respect and you kill someone, you might as well have been standing in a room full of people with a revolver while blindfolded and randomly firing in 6 directions.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244132)

How does being banned from driving translate to being supported in prison for $200k/year for life in your mind?

I don't have driving license, can I get that $200k government money thing without the prison part? Should I be on the look out for the cops coming to throw me in jail for the henious crime of not being allowed to drive?

Re:Ban them from computers.... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244166)

The issue is teaching the public how dangerous doing other things while driving is.

The people who need to have that explained to them should never be trusted with a driver's license.

Also, permanently revoking her license doesn't imply prison time. There may be prison time, but it's not a requirement of taking her license away for life.

Re:Ban them from computers.... (-1, Troll)

llZENll (545605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243934)

This is the reason the USA is in such an economic swirly. THE COST OF A LIFE IS NOT INFINITE! The sooner people accept this the sooner we can get on with a health care plan, welfare system, prison system, and most importantly defense budget that actually make sense. The military has put the cost of a human life at 2 million dollars for a long time, did you know that? The public needs to do the same, meaning even though Kevin Metnick did not kill anyone, he caused great financial harm, and that is just as bad. Even though you cannot rationalize it your head, the economy doesn't care. Since Metnick admitting that he caused 5 to 10 million dollars in damages, that would be equal to him killing 2-5 people, now what do you think his sentence should be?

Civil versus criminal law suits (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243664)

Criminal suits ==> "Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt"
Civil suits ==> "Preponderance of evidence"

As this is a civil suit (wrongful death is civil), the rules for civil suits apply. Most knee-jerk reactions want to look to "reasonable doubt" and then look into any time disparities among the phone, Facebook and other services and factors involved in the establishment of this evidence. (for example, timezone data could have significant impact on the reported time(s) from the phone company, the 9-1-1 service, Facebook and more.)

If all of those time issues are in correct synchronization, then the preponderance of evidence rule would probably result in the plaintiff winning the case.

Re:Civil versus criminal law suits (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243840)

I think most juries would see that as meeting both standards (if the devices were in correct synchronization and they couldn't show that someone else updated the Facebook page).

Must not have been Verizon. (1, Funny)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243788)

Since you can't use data and voice at the same time.

Re:Must not have been Verizon. (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243972)

The victim called 911, not the Facebook poster.

Re:Must not have been Verizon. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244100)

On two separate phones? One belonging to the victim and the other belonging to the driver? You know, like in this case.

Re:Must not have been Verizon. (1)

wurble (1430179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244126)

Or Sprint for that matter, unless it was on a 4G network (supposedly). Both Verizon and Sprint use the same data and voice protocols.

Re:Must not have been Verizon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244272)

There are NO 4G networks in the United States. All there are is 3G +Random crap networks.

4G spec isn't even fully ratified yet last I'd read, and what the carriers in the US have aren't even close.

sounds like a facebook feature request (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243796)

Enable 17 minute fuzzy time stamp modulator. I'd also like a random "anywhere but here" comment updater for use as an alibi, since facebook updates are now legal evidence.

Re:sounds like a facebook feature request (1)

garyok (218493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243886)

Anywhere but here? "Honey, you know how you were saying you were working late on Thursday night? How come facebook says you were haggling for a sniff in the fleshpots of Marrakesh?"

Re:sounds like a facebook feature request (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243916)

since facebook updates are now legal evidence

*puts on a paperclip costume*

Hello! It seems your surprised by the obvious. Would you like assistance in understanding that any record of your actions can be subverted for use in our legal system?

Re:sounds like a facebook feature request (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244082)

You seem to be under the impression that legal admissibility grants a piece of information the totemic power of a logical axiom or a videogame powerup. I'm pretty sure that most evidence you could care to name would trump a facebook update's timestamp or geotag.

Were the times on 911 and Facebook in sync? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243866)

There are two key things we do not know. Were the devices used to provide the time stamps for the Facebook post and the 911 call set to the same time? How much time passed, if any, between when she posted her update to Facebook and when Facebook timestamped it?
The girl's mother is claiming that her daughter made the updates when her car was parked in front of her boyfriend's house before she started driving. It is certainly reasonable to believe that there was sufficient differential between the devices providing the two different time stamps for this to be plausible. If she was updating her Facebook page while driving she should suffer significant retribution, but that is yet to be determined.

Re:Were the times on 911 and Facebook in sync? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244038)

And that's what we be found out. It's a really simple system.

First you notice the timestamps and that they may indicate the person was posting to facebook while driving and that may have contributed to the accident.

Second you file a lawsuit (you may have done that first of course and have noticed that first part in addition to your initial motivation).

Third you convince the judge at ht epre-trial phase with the data you do have to let you do some discovery and subpoena facebook for more fine grained data and the details of the timestamping and get the logs/image/whatever of the "electronic communication device" and possibly subpoena the cellular provider for logs/etc too.

You don't have to have a 100% solid case at the very beginning, that's what pre-trial is for. This is civil remember, you aren't expected to have the resources of law enforcement before you start.

Re:Were the times on 911 and Facebook in sync? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244136)

I was commenting to those who were rushing to judgement that she was in the wrong. That is still to be determined and that is what will be determined at trial (at least theoretically).

Re:Were the times on 911 and Facebook in sync? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244122)

I think it's not even relevant - her defence is "blinding sunlight" so she was already driving without due care and attention if she couldn't see him and stop in time by driving far too fast for the conditions, whether she was using her phone or not.

Re:Were the times on 911 and Facebook in sync? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244184)

Establishing that to a reasonable standard of certainty is obviously a matter for discovery; but my guess would be "Yes".

Most cellphones, unless explicitly instructed otherwise, correct their RTCs against the cell network pretty regularly. The cell guys keep a pretty good timebase.

Facebook, or any reasonably sized internet entity, is almost certainly correcting their RTCs with NTP or better, if only because things like logging and authentication are really, really hairy if you can't trust your timestamps.

One would also suspect that 911 call-centers keep accurate timestamps, given that the contents and timing of 911 calls end up being introduced as evidence with some frequency, and a lousy timebase would just be asking to have that evidence challenged every time it popped up...

Speculation is no substitute for knowledge, of course, but all of the timekeeping devices in this scenario are sophisticated, network linked devices, with assorted incentives for keeping accurate time, and comparatively cheap means of doing so. Nobody's imperfect memory of what their $2 timex or expensive-but-pitifully-mechanical "chronometer" was displaying is involved.

Attacking the assumption that the timestamps are synchronized sufficiently well is basically the defendant's only chance of escaping civil and/or criminal penalties, so I suspect the issue will be carefully examined; but I'd be fairly surprised if it turned out to exonerate her...

Funny name for a guy hit by a car (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35243936)

Veloz = Fast

Deterrent (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35243978)

A few public executions would very likely reduce the number of fools that use smartphones while driving

Re:Deterrent (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244270)

A few public executions would very likely reduce the number of fools that use smartphones while driving

I strongly doubt it. Even for the person causing them, car accidents are risky and expensive. Even hitting a pedestrian will probably involve getting a face full of airbag, a bumper replacement, and whatever re-fit is necessary to get the airbag system re-armed. Collision with a more solid object can easily result in serious injury or death, as well as a totalled vehicle.

Even without legal intervention, spikes in insurance rates, and the like, causing a car accident is, a nontrivial percentage of the time, something that carries an automatic punishment with it. Once you add insurance companies, healthcare hassles, and vehicular manslaughter charges, the odds get worse.

If all that doesn't dissuade the dumbasses from keeping their eyes on their toys rather than the road, I'm not thinking that remote odds of execution would...

Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (5, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244004)

FTFA

Veloz had exited his vehicle after getting into a minor accident with another motorist at around 7:30 AM. He was standing near the other driver’s vehicle exchanging information when he was struck by Beas. His right leg was partially severed, and he lost too much blood. Veloz was pronounced dead at around 9:30 AM in a nearby hospital. Beas told police that she had been temporarily blinded by the sun at the time of the collision, which resulted in a ticket for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. The driver involved in the earlier minor collision with Veloz told officers at the time that they had been temporarily blinded by the sun as well. Beas’ mother, Rosario Rodriguez, came to her daughter’s defense claiming that she posted the Facebook update as she sat in her car while waiting for it to warm up outside her boyfriend’s home, which is located two miles away from where the crash occurred.

So. The woman could very well have been unable to see due to the sun. Was the victim standing in the road? Did they move their vehicles to the side of the road? It's impossible to prove that the driver was using her phone at the time of the accident.

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244162)

That can be easily proven or disproven by the time stamps of the update and the call. I would guess it would take at least 4 minutes to drive the 2 miles in Chicago (speed limits usually 25 to 35mph inside city limits), and that's without traffic.

My blackberry logs any facebook updates I make as well as calls... so the timestamp on my phone would be consistant.

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244216)

So apparently in Chicago when drivers can't see what is ahead of them, they continue forward at full speed?

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244252)

Driving 2 miles in one minute from a dead stop while blinded by the sun? That means that you have to accelerate fast enough to surpass 120 mph and keep going enough to make up for the time you spent below 120. You might be able to do that in a super car like a Lamborgini or a high end crotch rocket.

That is either more reckless than driving while facebooking, or something is wrong with that story.

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244254)

She was driving when she could not see, but it is not her fault??

I'm not sure about Chicago, but in most jurisdictions blind people can't get driver's licenses.

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244260)

In Massachusetts (yes, I know, different state, different laws), if you, as a driver, are unable to view the road and continue to operate your vehicle, you are liable for what happens. If, for example, your windshield is covered in ice and you have a head-on collision, it's your fault. If the sun is in your eyes and you don't slow down to avoid hitting things, your fault if it happens. If you have sunglasses on at night and can't see the pedestrian crossing the road, your fault. If you turn your head to look for merging traffic and rear-end someone at a stop sign, your fault.

But, then there's another pesky idea: if you as a driver are not operating your vehicle such that you cannot stop for stationary objects whether they are in the road or not, then you are operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner, and everything is your fault.

From what we know of this case, and assuming IL has similar laws to MA, the driver is going to have a very hard time avoiding both criminal and civil charges.
   

Re:Might not be entirely the driver's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244266)

someone who looked up the facts before posting on /. ? ban this guy quick...

Should be banned from driving... (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244006)

If she is found guilty she should simply be banned from driving for 10 years, as she has proven she cannot be trusted with operating a motor vehicle. She's from Chicago, she can take the El like everyone else. Also such a punishment not only fits the crime but is a far better deterrent for such irresponsible actions than jail time (which everyone believes could never happen to them) or financial burdens (which the government usually makes sure you're not made homeless by).

Re:Should be banned from driving... (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244138)

Civil court != Criminal court
Considering the circumstances, she would never be found guilty in a court of law. There's just too much reasonable doubt.
Was the sun in her eyes like she and another witness said?
Can they prove she was actually driving when she posted to Facebook?
Why was the victim in the road and not on the sidewalk?

Could've been a Facebook update (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244044)

zomg fatul crash lol

Negligent Homicide, Open And Shut (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244112)

Yet another death caused by fucking idiots who text while driving. Nuff said.

Re:Negligent Homicide, Open And Shut (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244236)

Try reading the article in the Chicago Trib linked to the article linked to this /. story. Another open and shut case of something else, I'd say - that something else relating to someones ability to read linked articles. But hey, karma is cheap.

Cops and Pilots do it all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35244278)

Just because you're a civilian doesn't mean you're a pudding head.

Buy that is what the Courts assume.

It is ironical that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty but declared by the court, stupid. The only people with "intelligence" are then government officials.

Time Lag (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244182)

from TFA; "Rosario Rodriguez said her daughter, Araceli Beas, posted that she needed to go to the gym as she sat in her car while waiting for it to warm up outside her boyfriend’s home near East 80th Street and South Commercial Avenue last Dec. 27. Beas struck Raymond Veloz about two miles away near 92nd Street and South Ewing Avenue, police said at the time." Also from TFA; "Police cited Beas for failure to avoid striking a pedestrian. Beas and the driver involved in the minor collision with Veloz told officers at the time that they had been temporarily blinded by the sun." Far from an open and closed case, I'd say, but then, WhaddaIknow?

Details will matter (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244242)

The article is light on details but here is what is published: a Facebook update was made on the defendants account near the time of the accident. It is implied it was made from the defendants account. The plaintiff however must prove that it was made by the defendant herself. In the article, the defendant's mother claims she made the update from another location. Again it is up to the plaintiff to prove it really was the defendant updating the status and not any other explanation.

Side lesson: don't stand near the road (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35244268)

A side lesson from this is to avoid standing in the road if at all possible. If you get in a wreck and need to talk to the other driver, do so well off the road, on the far side of your vehicle. Don't stand between the vehicles and traffic.
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