State Police cracking down on texting and driving
LITTLE ROCK — In an effort stop texting while driving, the Arkansas State Police have begun their newest initiative, “U Drive, U Text, U Pay”.
Police want to slow down this growing trend of distracted driving-related crashes and will be stepping up patrols from April 11 through April 15. Corporal Liz Chapman added that this campaign helps bring back the focus to distracted driving, but it’s also something they look for year-round.
ASP reported that in recent years, a younger generation of millennial drivers are the biggest texting while driving offenders. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, eight percent of people killed in teen driving crashes died because teens were distracted at the time of the crash.
“When you put your eyes on your phone for even five seconds, and that’s the average time somebody looks at a text message, it’s going to take you across a football field,” Chapman added. “Imagine getting in your car and driving across a football field with your eyes closed, would you trust yourself to do that?”
If you’re caught texting and driving, your first offense can cost you up to $250. Be prepared to shell out double that if you’re caught again.
HOT SPRINGS — “I think there definitely needs to be stricter laws and harsher punishment. We need consequences,” April Baker said.
How much jail time is enough time for a 6th DWI offense?
The maximum is 20 years.
Igor Vuceta received 5 years this week after pleading guilty in Garland County.
But a family who was hit head-on by Vuceta when he was drunk back in 2015 says 5 years is not enough.
April Baker and her two boys were hit head-on, totaling the car, causing concussions and whiplash.
“There is that moment that you don’t know, you don’t know if you’re going to see them again,” April said.
According to Vuceta’s record, that was his third driving while intoxicated arrest.
“I’m more upset that it continues to happen,” April said.
As of Tuesday, Vuceta pleaded guilty to his 6th DWI and received a sentence of 5 years in jail.
“It is not near enough for the amount of grievances he has against the state and the lack of respect for the laws,” April said.
She’s working with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving to petition for more time on Vuceta’s sentence.
“At least enough time for no one to be hurt by him,” she said.
Even Gavin has learned a thing or two about the justice system.
“If they don’t get punished, they can keep on doing it again and again without any consequences,” he said.
Back when the accident happened Vuceta received an ankle monitor for about a year. It appears from his record that he soon after was back to his old ways.
Remains found behind Riverview High School identified
SEARCY — Authorities have identified human remains discovered in the woods behind Riverview high school in Searcy.
The Arkansas Crime Lab says dental records were used to confi rm the remains were those of Larry Don Madden.
Madden was 26 when he was reported missing in 1999 out of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Searcy police say Madden was in the area working and staying with a friend when he disappeared.
Kermit Channell, executive director of the state crime lab, says it’s unclear how long the remains had been in the woods.
Currently, Madden’s cause of death is still under investigation.