Sacto 9-1-1
March 12, 2012
Woman gets 5 years for text-messaging in vehicular manslaughter case

A driver who caused a fatal traffic collision when she was text messaging behind the wheel on the freeway last year was sentenced today to five years in state prison.

Sequoia Monay Jones, 22, received the term for the Oct. 24 crash that knocked Robert Wilson, 64, of North Highlands, off his motorcycle and led to his death on the northbound Capital City Freeway near El Camino Avenue.

"Much has been said in recent years about the dangers of text messaging while driving," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown told Jones at her sentencing. "And yet it persists. This case serves as a tragic precautionary tale. The defendant engaged in reckless and senseless behavior.

"Now, as a result of the incidents, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a brother-in-law and an uncle is dead."

A quick search of Bee archives and stories on the internet showed that there have been other cases in the region and in the state where text messaging has been implicated in fatal traffic wrecks, including one in Roseville in 2005 in which Rocklin Police Officer Matthew Redding was killed.

Deputy District Attorney Tan Thinh said he is not aware of any others in Sacramento County.

Several family members of Wilson spoke in court at today's sentencing in which they expressed anger at Jones, who has been in custody since the October crash. Besides pleading no contest Jan. 30 to causing the wreck that led to the death, Jones also admitted that she fled the scene rather than stop to provide aid for the man who was hit by another car after she knocked him off his motorcycle.

"I hope you never get another cell phone when you get your freedom back," the victim's son, Preston Wilson, told the court. "And I hope you're smart enough to stay the heck away from cars. Because you, my friend, don't deserve freedom, don't deserve a vehicle. You don't' deserve a cell phone. In my opinion, you don't deserve your life."

Through her attorney, Donald Heller, Jones expressed remorse.

"I feel the anguish of the family," Heller said. "What my client did was totally inexcusable."

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