A Georgia teen who allegedly killed three family members in a car accident is heading to trial, but her lawyer said it is because of a lawsuit against the city.
Zoe Reardon is facing nine charges after hitting a family walking across a dark street in Woodstock, Georgia, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper on Feb. 19, adding that State Court Judge Alan Jordan made a decision that her charges will stand.
She faces second-degree vehicular homicide and distracted driving among other charges.
Thread: Hearing for 18 yo Zoe Reardon. At 17-hit,killed 3 ppl in Woodstock-mom,baby,their family friend—who were crossing rd leaving concert around 8:15 p.m. Case closed w no charges in Jan ’18,inves. concluded hitting 3 was unavoidable, no speeding (no pic fam friend) @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/tfA9PY2h80
— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) February 15, 2019
Officials said she was driving down Arnold Mill Road in downtown Woodstock in September 2017 when she hit three people, including an infant.
Kathy Deming and Kaitlin Hunt, who was holding her baby, Riley Hunt, were crossing the street when they were struck. All three died from their injuries, AJC reported.
“It’s like part of me died,” said Kathy Vandiver, the baby’s grandmother, told the news outlet.
The grandmother and other daughter were nearby when the crash unfolded.
“I thought it was an explosion,” Vandiver said. “The nightmares that I have when I close my eyes are the sound and seeing what happened in the aftermath.”
Last year, Reardon told WSB-TV that there was nothing she could do to avoid the collision, and her lawyer insisted that when the accident unfolded, the three people were crossing the road in the dark.
“I see my family’s hurt, my parents’ hurt. I can only imagine their families’ hurt must be four times what we’re going through,” Zoe Reardon said, adding that she didn’t see the victims.
“I just can’t imagine their pain,” her father, Dan Reardon, told the station. “I have so often wanted to reach out to them and tell them how sad I am,” Zoe’s mother, Garnet Reardon, was quoted as saying.
But records have said that Reardon, who was 17 at the time of the crash, didn’t exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle, saying she was distracted by her cellphone, reported WSB-TV.
Reardon claimed she wasn’t putting her phone away.
“I never saw anyone coming. I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t doing anything, just looking at the road. My eyes were on the road,” she said.
“One can be distracted in a myriad of ways and the defense needs specificity about what the state is alleging so it can provide a viable defense; otherwise the state can offer alternative theories and ‘see what sticks,’” her attorneys also argued, reported the AJC.
Teen driver faces nine charges after hitting, killing family & baby crossing street but says she did nothing wrong: Court
Last year, one of Reardon’s lawyers, Manny Arora, claimed that investigators closed her case months after the accident, saying the crash was unavoidable. He said officials only re-opened the case and charged her again after Brandon Hunt, Kaitlin Hunt’s husband, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Woodstock.
His suit claimed that the city “knew or should have known that the traffic on Arnold Mill Road would pose a risk of unreasonable harm to the attendees coming to and from the concert,” CrimeOnline reported.
“The idea is that if Ms. Reardon is convicted, then the city arguably avoids liability because they can blame her for being at fault,” Arora said.
The area where the family was struck now has new crosswalk lines and streetlights.
Reardon’s trial is set for March 11.
Hunt’s family tried to move the trial date from the week of March 11 because her sister is expecting her first child.
But Judge Jordan denied all motions, keeping the date set.
“There are ramifications for every decision I make,” he said. “I’m ready to get it done in March.”
“Our life’s on hold,” Vandiver said of the move. “So now, what do we do? They’re making us choose one daughter over another daughter.”