Hopefully you’re NOT reading this post from behind the wheel of your car. If so… put down the phone!!
“Facebook while driving” is a common occurrence and now the family of a victim who was killed in the crash is seeking damages citing Facebook as the major cause of the crash.
A day after the Chicago woman was accused in the lawsuit, her mother came forward to vehemently deny the allegations, saying that her daughter used the online site well before the crash occurred.
Rosario Rodriguez says 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.
“I was flabbergasted (by this lawsuit) because it’s not true,” Rodriguez said. “My daughter was not on the phone.”
The lawsuit, filed Monday in a Chicago Court by the dead man’s daughter, contends that Beas’ Facebook update was posted at 7:54 a.m., the exact same time that Veloz’s cell phone records showed a call being made to 911.
Based on those records, Veloz’s daughter, Regina Cabrales, alleged that Beas “operated her vehicle without keeping a proper and sufficient outlook.”
“We believe that she was driving and Facebooking right around the time of the accident,” said David Wise, Cabrales’ lawyer.
The attorney acknowledged that he still needed to review whether the timing mechanisms in both cell phones were in sync and whether Beas’ Facebook page updated immediately after she sent her message.
“We will find out from the system how those times are recorded,” he said. “We are going to subpoena everything.”
Veloz, 70, had been involved in a minor collision with another vehicle around 7:30 a.m. when he stepped out of his car to exchange information with the other driver. Beas, who was driving southbound, struck Veloz at around 8:00 a.m., severely damaging his right leg and causing him to bleed to death, according to a police crash report.
Veloz was pronounced dead at about 9:30 a.m.
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.
The victim’s daughter is seeking an unspecified amount of cash.