Distracted Driver Kills Retired Teacher, is Forced by Judge to Visit Her Grave

Distracted driver missed a stop sign and hit another car, killing the passenger and injuring the driver 7 photos
Photo: Dakota County Sheriff's Office
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In 2016, a Minnesota woman failed to heed a stop sign because she was distracted and crashed her SUV into the passenger side of another car, killing one and injuring the driver.
Lori Hoefs, 57, admitted to the police that, at the time of the crash, she was on her phone with a friend. She had the phone on speaker but she was still holding it in her hand, and she was distracted enough to miss the sign, she said.

Her victim, Brenda Travis, was a retired teacher. Her brother was driving the car at the time, and while he too was injured, he had a quick recovery.

Though Hoefs could have been sent to jail for a very long time under the initial charges (felony criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation), she got a mere slap on the wrist, by comparison. She will be spending only 6 months in jail and will have to visit her victim’s grave twice, whether she wants to or not.

That’s the sentence handed out to her after striking a plea deal and pleading guilty to lesser charges: misdemeanor reckless driving and misdemeanor careless driving. The victim’s brother, who was driving the other car and was injured as well, was OK with the plea deal and even insisted that Hoefs didn’t lose her nursing license, as she’d been working as a nurse for over 3 decades, The Star Tribune reports.

“He did add, however, ‘We do wonder why she didn't assist’ his sister at the crash scene, ‘but I guess she was in total shock’,” the publication adds.

Under the same plea deal, Hoefs gets 2 years of probation, following the 6-month jail sentence, 30 hours of community service and a fine of $1,429, and must attend classes at a driving improvement clinic. Community service will consist of public speeches on distracted driving.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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