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Texting Driver Kills 12-Year-Old in PA

A series of unimportant text messages, according to the District Attorney of Northampton County in Pennsylvania, were the cause of the death of a 12-year-old pedestrian, reports The Morning Call (

In September 2017, 12-year-old Emma Raymondo was walking home after getting ice cream with her siblings at a nearby store on Route 248. Twenty-one-year-old Dylan T. Groff was driving by at the time and texting with his friends about their dinner plans. Because he was distracted by his phone, Groff drifted onto the road’s shoulder and struck the young girl, resulting in her death. At that point, a car accident lawyer Denver CO trusts should be consulted.

Matthew Raymondo, Emma’s father, said his outgoing daughter was fun-loving and enjoyed dancing and karate. She was also an honors student at the local Easton Area Middle School. According to Raymondo, the family was told that Groff could not be interviewed immediately after the crash because he was so distraught. Raymondo, however, pointed out just how foolish it is to text and drive, adding that Groff needed to be made into an example so that this type of dangerous driving behavior stops before it claims more lives.

John Morganelli, the DA of Northampton County, said that on surveillance footage from a local Walmart before the crash, Groff can be seen leaving the store while reading his cellphone screen. Around four minutes later, the 21-year-old began a text message thread with two friends that stopped with a message sent by Groff at 8:10. Just one minute later, at 8:11, Groff called 911 to report the tragic accident. According to the DA, when the distance between the accident scene and Walmart is measured, it can be determined that Groff was using his phone while driving. Groff, noted Morganelli, offered some contradictory time frames about when he stopped using his phone and when he started using it.

The 21-year-old has no criminal history, and he stayed at the accident scene and cooperated with investigators. He is now facing several serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter and homicide by vehicle.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, accidents like the one that took young Emma’s life are increasingly common across the country ( More than eight people die in distracted driving crashes each day, and another 1,161 are injured. Since 2010, year after year, an estimated 660,000 people use cellphones or other electronic devices while driving at any given moment during the daytime. Despite numerous campaigns across the country highlighting the dangers of driving while distracted and the reports of injuries and accidents related to the practice in the local and national media, this number has held steady for the last seven years.

Even with new safety technology emerging to combat driving while distracted, it remains a serious safety issue that causes accidents with tragic consequences and serious injuries on a daily basis. If you or someone you care about has been hurt because of a distracted driver, you have rights and you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an experienced auto accident attorney about your case as soon as possible.


A special thanks to our friends and contributors at Richard Banta, PC, for their insight on this particular matter.