NJ woman guilty in state’s first texting-while-driving homicide trial
Prosecutors in Monmouth County on Friday secured what is believed to be the first guilty verdict in a texting-while-driving vehicular homicide case.
Alexandra Mansonet, 50, of Keansburg, rejected a plea deal and opted to go to trial. Now she faces up to 10 years prison and will have to serve at least 85% of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.
Mansonet was not drunk or on drugs. But prosecutors argued that she might as well have been.
The Sept. 28, 2016 crash killed 39-year-old Yuwen Wang, who was crossing Laurel Avenue in Hazlet.
Investigators said that right before the crash, Mansonet had received a text message from her sister-in-law asking her what kind of food she wanted for dinner.
“Cuban, American or Mexican. Pick one," the text said.
The response on her phone was "ME," which prosecutors said was the beginning of her typing out a longer answer.
Mansonet, the CEO of the Perth Amboy-based nonprofit Jewish Renaissance Foundation, denied that she was texting at the moment of impact and her attorney argued that she was fumbling for the controls in her 2000 Mercedes Benz when she rear-ended — without braking — a 2011 Toyota Corolla that had been slowly rolling to a stop to allow Wang to cross.
Mansonet's car shoved the Toyota into Wang, who was taken by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick. She died days later on Oct. 3, 2016.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.