Jessica L. Howe fumbled for phone in wreck that killed infant

Categories: Crime

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Photo: Samantha Celera
Hang up and drive, please
On the morning of March 18, 38-year-old Paul Jett was stopped at the intersection of Central Avenue and 50th Avenue N. in Columbia Heights.

In the back seat of his station wagon, his 14-month-old son, Grayson, was strapped into his car seat.

But when Jessica L. Howe slammed her car into the Jetts', the car seat wasn't enough to protect Grayson's life. He died later of head injuries, part of particularly deadly period on Minnesota's roads.

Later, investigators found that Howe was hunting for her cell phone when the accident occurred. She had been speeding, wasn't paid up on her auto insurance, had been busted twice before for driving without a license, and there were no skid marks at the site of the crash -- she'd plowed right into the Jett's car.

Now, Howe has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide in Anoka County. Here's the Star Tribune, quoting Howe from the criminal complaint:

"I know I should have been focusing on the road. ... I should have stopped right there and stopped looking for my phone, but I didn't."

Grayson's fate caught the attention of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who cited the infant's death while railing in a blog post against distracted drivers in April.


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