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Morris County Judge: Text Sender Not Liable For Wreck

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A New Jersey woman who sent a text message to her boyfriend cannot be held liable for a car crash he caused while responding to the message.

WCBS 880's Jim Smith On The Story


A judge made that decision Friday in state Superior Court in Morris County.

A lawyer for David and Linda Kubert said text messages from Shannon Colonna to Kyle Best played a role in the Sept. 21, 2009 wreck in Mine Hill.

The Kuberts each lost a leg after their motorcycle was hit by a truck, driven by then 18-year-old Best, when it swerved across the center line.

The Kuberts said Best was texting at the time of the crash.

"What I saw was a gentlemen in the truck steering with his elbows, with his head down. And I could tell he was text messaging," David Kubert told CBS News.

Best pleaded guilty to using a handheld device while driving, but the New Jersey couple sued Best and his girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, for sending him text messages while he was driving and distracting him.

"I believe that if she knew he was driving and answering her back with texts, that she's partially responsible, too," Linda said.

Colonna's lawyer said she had no control over when Best would read the message and in their legal briefs, called the suit a "leap of logic."

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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