Texting a factor in fatal Flagler crash

By Ben Cleveland

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM CDT

PALM COAST — Investigators are weighing whether to file a charge of vehicular homicide against a woman who said she was texting while driving before a fatal crash in Flagler County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Brandy Michelle Cannon, 22, "admitted she was texting" in the crash that killed a 40-year-old Palm Coast woman last year, a report from the FHP states. Cannon was driving on State Road 100 when she crossed into the oncoming traffic lane because she was texting, according to the report.

Texting while driving is not illegal in Florida, but investigators are considering it a factor in their investigation, which could lead to a vehicular homicide charge or just a noncriminal traffic citation.

The crash happened about 10:25 p.m. Oct. 29, 2011, on S.R. 100 near County Road 45 in western Flagler County. Cannon was headed west in her Dodge Neon and drifted into the eastbound lane, continuing for some distance, according to a diagram from the FHP.

Cannon's Dodge nearly crashed into an eastbound pickup before smashing into a Ford Explorer driven by Kimberly Dionne Lacy, 45, of Bunnell. Lacy survived but her passenger, Loretta Ann Patterson, died of her injuries the next day, about three hours after the accident, at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

The long wait for a decision on possible charges has frustrated Loretta Patterson's family, including a sister, Diane Patterson, 42, of Palm Coast.

"To go on this long and nothing has happened, it's very frustrating," Patterson said. "It makes you angry."

She said she hears about other texting-while-driving crashes on the news but didn't think much about it until the issue impacted her life.

- Story orriginally published by The Daytona Beach News-Journal