Texting and driving reason for child’s death

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — A teenager says she was using her phone while driving in an accident that killed a seven year old.

It happened on 600 block of South 14th street in Mattoon two years ago.

Friends of now 19-year-old Makayla McCulloch say did it because she’s remorseful and she wants others to learn from her mistakes.

Her admission is considered a guilty plea.

Since she was 17 at the time, her charges are juvenile offenses.

The Coles County State’s Attorney is looking to charge her with aggravated unlawful use of a communication device.

With her admitting to this charge, other charges have been dropped.

Her friends say the family of seven-year-old Joshua Schneider have forgiven her.

Now she’s trying to move forward.

“She would take it back in a heart beat if she could, but she can’t and so she’s trying to move forward. And she really wants people to a) realize this can happen to anyone and b) realize what she could have done differently and take that and grow and go with it and not have to make the same mistakes,” says McCulloch’s friend, Annie Banton.

Banton believes this is an accident that could have happened to anyone.

There’s a memorial and heart left behind on 14th street where the accident happened.

Neighbors say texting and driving isn’t the only problem and there’s a bigger issue at hand, speeding.

They say this accident may have been prevented if more was done to monitor the road. 

“They speed coming out of the park at 10 ocklock at night. They drag race. I would love to see speed bumps at the entrance to the park or in the middle and one at the end,” says Hope DeSherlia. 

They hope someone steps up to help slow things down along the road.

Even though McCulloch made the guilty plea, there was no agreement on her sentencing.

She is scheduled for a sentence hearing September 22.

There are several apps to help keep people from texting and driving.

AT&T Drive Mode sends people an automatic text to let them know you’re driving.

Textecution and Text-Star use your speed.

If you’re driving faster than ten miles per hour, they disable texting or allow you to send an automatic response.

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