MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some consider it worse than drinking and driving, yet many people text while they are behind the wheel every day.

On Monday, 21-year-old Amanda Manzanares was convicted of criminal vehicular operation for causing an accident that nearly killed a Hopkins man last year.

The criminal complaint shows she was texting and talking on her cell phone minutes before the crash — a crash that Barry Lawrence is still recovering from.

There was a time not long ago when Lawrence wondered if he’d ever pick up his guitar again.

“I was worried I might not live,” said Lawrence, who survived a texting and driving accident.

Since October of 2010, he’s been nursing injuries that kept him from his music and his work of building replicas of the Vietnam Memorial.

“Six broken ribs, collapsed lung and my heart stopped for a bit,” he said.

The accident was caused by a distracted driver believed to be texting and driving. Lawrence was riding his motorcycle on Excelsior Boulevard in Minnetonka. As he was on his way to get coffee, he noticed a car coming into his lane.

“I start yelling. I see her head below the steering wheel. If I could have, I would have gone on the grass, but it’s like a heat-seeking missile,” Lawrence said.

Distracted driving is becoming a more prevalent problem on roadways.

“That’s a threat to me and my family, me and your family,” Lawrence said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, distracted driving is the cause of one in every four crashes in Minnesota each year.

“We allowed people to develop addictions and habits. Now, we got to try to break habits and it’s hard to do,” said Jon Cummings, of Minnesotans for Safe Driving.

Yet, drivers still pick up their cell phones every day. Lawrence’s hope is his story makes everyone think about putting down the phone.

“It’s worse than drunks I think. At least drunks are trying to stay on the road, but people texting aren’t even looking at the road,” he said.

Under the law, texting and driving amounts to careless driving which is a misdemeanor. But, there are some county attorneys who are beginning to bring more serious charges.

Comments (8)
  1. Jake says:

    The evidence is compelling. Phone records are the most PRECISE, ACCURATE, and DAMNING evidence in a wrongful death scenario. Make up any BS story that you want after a serious crash, phone billing records rarely LIE. Just as accurate, maybe MORE accurate, than a breathalyzer. I would say that over the past few months, I have seen less and less motorists driving with a cell phone jammed into their ear, and that’s a GOOD THING.

  2. Robert says:

    I’ve darn near been in several accidents because some a$$ was yakking on their cell phones, texting, perhaps even playing a game on their phones. It’s time to lower the boom on these idiots and start out with a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

  3. Helen Keller says:

    I usually do a crossword puzzle when I drive my car..And I always text when I’m driving my motorcycle..Lighten up you worry warts!

    1. Jake says:

      Keller, you are truly one of those who I hope is involved in a fatal accident, and it is totally YOUR FAULT. I have been involved in and witnessed many serious crashes, and rarely are they ‘accidents’. I guess that the only way that an idiot like you can learn from such a tragedy is to be the CAUSE OF ONE. Dont’ think it can happen to you?? Ha.

    2. em1022 says:

      MORON!!!!! I really thought this was a joke at first…and if you seriously do these things while driving and you ever rear-end me or cause an accident that involves me and my son of any kind..you better hope your injured or killed because I will make sure that you need an ambulance..what gives you the right to change my life and possibly take away the very thing that makes each day worth living!!!

  4. @Jake the bad driver says:

    If you’ve been involved in many serious crashes,I’d say you’re definitely a hazard to other motorists..Maybe it’s time for you to buy a bus pass.

  5. just sayin says:

    It’s called bluetooth people. Get new vehicles – before long, it will be mandatory that your car has bluetooth.

    Apple’s new 4s phone can talktext and it’s pretty good.

  6. sick of it says:

    That’s a brilliant comment. Everyone should get a new vehicle so they can talk on the phone while they’re driving! How about driving while you’re behind the wheel instead of talking or talktexting? Just sayin…

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