A man accused of texting when he hit and killed one pedestrian and injured another on the BYU campus faces a June 26 arraignment.
Cade M. Krueger, 30, was charged in Fourth District Court with negligent homicide, a class-A misdemeanor, and with using a handheld device to text or email while operating a vehicle, a class-C misdemeanor, following a Sept. 19, 2010, accident on Campus Drive.
Jessica Wilson and Inge Valdmann were crossing Campus Drive near the bell tower when they were hit by Krueger’s car. Wilson died on the way to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and Valdmann sustained serious injuries.
BYU was initially named as a third-party defendant in the case, filed Jan. 12, 2011, but was soon after dismissed, according to court documents. Wilson’s death has been a focal point for the university’s decision to remove Campus Drive as part of a major construction project to make the campus safer for pedestrians.
Valdmann and Wilson’s parents are also pursuing unspecified damages for their losses in a civil case, also in Fourth District Court. Court records list hospital bills for Valdmann at more than $118,000.
Prosecutors during a preliminary hearing on Thursday used Krueger’s cell phone records as evidence he was texting during his drive on Campus Drive that ended in the accident at 7:59 p.m. Video footage from BYU Police was used to help establish the time of the accident.
The defense argued there is not enough evidence to prove that Krueger was texting when he hit Wilson. Krueger testified previously that he heard a car honk and looked in the direction of the sound when he hit the women at the crosswalk. Witnesses testified that he also had a green light at the time of the accident.
Judge Claudia Laycock found enough evidence to advance the texting charge against Krueger to an arraignment, where he will have the opportunity to enter a plea.
The judge said there is not enough evidence to prove that texting caused the accident to occur. The phone records were not specific enough on the time to show that Kreuger was sending a text when he hit Wilson and Valdmann. Laycock dropped the negligent homicide charge.
According to her obituary, Wilson graduated from BYU in 2009 with a degree in social work. She worked at the Wasatch Mental Health hospital at the time of her death. Valdmann was visiting from Estonia, where Wilson served an LDS mission.