The family of a 15-year-old boy has filed a wrongful death suit against a man who hit and killed the youngster while texting behind the wheel of his vehicle last year. Evie Lesser, the mother of Tommy LaVelle Clark, has sued the driver, Jeffery Lloyd Bascom, for damages. Meanwhile, Bascom, 28, has been charged in a criminal offense, automobile homicide involving the use of a hand-held wireless communication device while driving, as well as obstruction of justice, both being felonies.
According to police, Clark and a friend were walking on the shoulder of a street about 9 p.m. on Sept. 2 when a Dodge pickup driven by Bascom left the road and hit Clark. The police said Bascom was texting at the time. Clark was taken to a hospital and died the next day. As a matter of interest, an amendment to Utah’s texting-while-driving law took effect in May, making it illegal to be doing anything on a hand-held wireless communication device except making or receiving a call, or using GPS navigation. Before the change, a driver had to be sending a text at the instant an accident occurred. Merely looking at a text or the screen of a cell phone was not illegal.
The amendment was intended to make cases easier to prove, since prosecutors have said the narrow construction of the old law made it almost impossible to get convictions. Prosecutors believe Bascom’s case is the first time the new statute has been applied in their county. Bascom has a long history of traffic violations dating back to when he was 16. He was convicted in 2009 of driving more than 40 mph over the speed limit.
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