Minn. Driver Gets 4 Years In Prison For Cell Phone Crash

ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minneapolis woman was sentenced to four years in prison for a March 18,2010 crash that killed an infant.

Jessica Lyn Howe, 29, was given the maximum sentence on Tuesday for causing the accident that killed 14-month-old Grayson Jett.

According to the criminal complaint, Howe rear-ended another vehicle while looking for her cell phone, which caused a chain reaction crash.

The Minnesota State Patrol said Howe was traveling approximately 55 mph in a 40 mph zone at the time of the crash.

  • Yahoo

    We must ban cell phone use while driving. It is worse than watching tv and driving.

    • Max Power

      LOL , how in the hell is that even remotely possible ????
      I think “Yahoo” about sums it up with you buddy.

  • It Cant Happen To Me

    Cell phone my but, she was reaching for a Snickers bar

  • Herb

    A ban would not be enough. There are already laws on the books concerning distracted driving. The only true solution would be to require short range cell signal jamming devices in every registered vehicle. OR Make fines and penalties on a per with other offenses which cause similar carnage. What does a DUI cost these days? As long as there are no teeth in the cell phone laws, we will continue to see these kinds of stories with increasing frequency

    911 would be allowed to go through.

  • Lock er up.

    Let’s hope it’s four years for her in prison and a lifetime away from her driver’s license and any vehicle.

    • dphilips

      Lock her up is the wrong solution

      • fred

        I agree….she needs a good horse whipping….at least 50 lashes.

  • 4 years is nothing

    She also didn’t have car insurance, plus had been arrested twice before for driving without a license, Check forgery, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle.
    Obviously she didnt learn her lesson. Now a little boy is dead and his family will never be the same. What a loser.

  • Sandi

    I knew Grayson’s mother as I taught with her. No one can understand the loss unless they have been there. Dad was simply driving Grayson while he was in his carseat in the back seat of the car and the car was stopped at a stop light. This lady felt picking up her cell phone was so important that she plowed into the back end of the stopped car and killed Grayson. Grayson’s little brother Jack didn’t understand why his brother didn’t come home. How do you explain that to a small boy? Why can’t people understand that driving is a full time job and phones aren’t included in that process? I don’t think that her sentence was an adequate exchange for a life. I know it was the maximum sentence, but what is a life worth? She certainly has had a lively past record. Too bad it’s illegal to stamp a person’s forehead with the word “killer.” That would last a lifetime!

    • snowman

      You people are a bunch of vindictive mouthbreathers

      • Jake

        It is not vindictive to seek JUSTICE. It is the right thing to do.
        Without it, you would see dead bodies lying in the street on
        a regular basis.

    • dphilips

      You must be some teacher! No wonder the schools are turning out imbeciles!

      • agreewithsandy

        What was wrong with her response, she is right. A little boy lost his life because someone who should have known better,killed him. Did she purposly set out to ruin this family, I am sure not but she committed a crime it is illegal to speed, plus she was driving carelessly by not paying attention on the road. Have you ever lost a child? It is the worst thing in the world to experience, it is something you never get over and think about everyday. You wonder what they would be like, how they would be doing in school, what their interests would be, not a day goes by that you don’t think of them. My only hope for this woman is that she spends the rest of her life thinking about that little boy, because I can promise you that his family will.

  • Jake

    It was reported that Howe’s family and friends were ‘shocked’ at the 4 year sentence. Really? Seriously? I was once rear-ended on my motorcycle by
    a distracted motorist (wasn’t a cell phone — SO WHAT). I was lucky to have
    escaped without any permanent injury, but the cop who arrived wouldn’t even
    write the guy a careless/reckless ticket. Put the CELL PHONES AWAY when
    you are driving. Shut them OFF. The laws on phone use while driving are only
    going to get tougher, as the cops can now find out if you were using it at the time
    of the crash easily. This idiot meth-head who has numerous convictions of many
    types shouldn’t even have been on the road, she’s lucky she only got 4 years, IMO.
    NO phone call or text is worth this kind of pain. Think it can’t happen to you?
    Better think again.

  • King Kong

    Police suppose to be out there on the road watch for more drunk driver or cell phone user while driving, I’ve seen a lot of people driving back and ford lane to lane or driving too slowwhile use cell phone on the road I saw one after one, I was wonder where is the police. And for Jessica Lyn Howe, she had her chance why would she learn a lesson, being good is not kill anybody and not going to prison.

  • Victim Du Jour

    You don’t put people in prison for accidents, you save prisons for violent criminals.

    The State of Minnesota is being managed by total idiots, this is among many reasons the State is 5 billion dollars in debt.

    Maybe it will be better to ban people from driving for extended periods of time instead.

    • I hate victim du jour

      Victim Du Jour your an idiot, a toddler is dead from a woman who has an extensive criminal history. Try to have some compasion for how others are feeling or what someone else is going through? Im watch you. Your very abusive. I

      • Victim du jour

        A few years ago this station reported a woman getting a year in county jail for killing two passengers in her car. She was intoxicated from drugs and alcohol and the report made it sound like it was so sweet of her to get tattoos of the victims names on her leg.

        As for watching me? I’m not going to lose sleep over someone with delusions of grandeur. And I am not the only one pointing out how ditzy our government is.

        You are just playing the role of a victim for censorship. -corny!

        • I hate victim du jour

          Your crazy and incensitive. This murderer should be in jail for more than 4 years for killing a child. Du jour you might be having delusions because you have been up to long? Get some sleep, todays a new day.

    • dphilips

      I have to agree with you on this one

    • Jake

      Yes, and this accident, I would think given the description, would seem about as violent as anything imaginable.. That’s why she got prison. She is also a many time repeat criminal, another good reason for prison.

      Ban people from driving for extended periods of time? That’s working out really well these days, as the DPS estimates that 500,000 drivers are on the road every day in MN with no driver’s license, no insurance, or BOTH.

      Sure, the intent (to kill) is not there, but that means she got only 4 years, not 12.
      You will still be held accountable if you kill somebody, even if you didn’t mean to,
      unless you are dealing with an unavoidable situation. This situation was clearly avoidable, unnecessary, and incredibly stupid. Good job, Judge.

  • Max Power

    If this lady plowed into a car stopped at a red light doing 55 mph there is more to this than reaching for a cell phone on the floor !
    I mean come on think about it….forget it was the almighty evil cell phone, lets put in it’s place…..a pencil….or a dollar.
    There is absolutely NO reason on Gods green earth that she shouldn’t have seen a red light, an intersection, stopped cars the whole situation well before going down to pick up the object.
    This is her being negligent & stupid & choosing to make a maneuver at a point in time that would be, to the vast majority of daily drivers, incomprehensible.

    The point here is that it has very little to do with the cell phone….it has everything to do with someone that had absolutely no business behind the wheel of a moving vehicle PERIOD !

    • jld


  • MAMA J

    Mama J.
    @Max. Very true!! But at the same time.
    Wish we could bring back the good -old days. NO CELL PHONES AT ALL.
    I had a cell phone for 10 years and just got rid of it and got a house phone. Cheaper and I’m not killing people because I need to answer my phone or “need” to send a text while driving. I love not having to deal with all the cell phone crap. I think I”m the only 30 year old I know that only has a house phone.

    She should have gotten a lot longer for her crime. I really hope the family can at the very least have some kind of closure. I could never imagine having one of my babies taken away from me. Much love to the family.

  • Valerie

    This wasn’t an accident. It was gross negligence, using a deadly weapon, however you want to phrase it. Also dangerous & same situation- smoking, drinking ANYTHING, eating, running red lights, speeding. Any of us who do these things are just as guilty.

    • Sunny Dayze

      Bingo, the “accident” is supassed when the recklessness is so blatant.

  • James

    All she got for killing such a young person was 4 years?! I say an eye for an eye…You cause a loss of life, yours should be taken in return.

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