21-year-old Chicago motorist Araceli Beas has been accused of attempting to update her Facebook page on her cell phone when she allegedly struck and killed 70-year-old Raymond Veloz. The victim's daughter, Regina Cabrales, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, asking for an unspecified amount of money, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Cabrales alleges in her suit that Beas operated her vehicle without keeping a proper and sufficient focus, drove while using an electronic communication device, and failed to slow down to avoid an accident. As proof, she points to the fact that Beas' Facebook page showed an update posted at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2010, which is the same time that Veloz's cell phone records showed a call being made to 911.
Veloz had exited his vehicle after getting into a minor accident with another motorist at around 7:30 AM. He was standing near the other driver's vehicle exchanging information when he was struck by Beas. His right leg was partially severed, and he lost too much blood. Veloz was pronounced dead at around 9:30 AM in a nearby hospital.
Beas told police that she had been temporarily blinded by the sun at the time of the collision, which resulted in a ticket for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. The driver involved in the earlier minor collision with Veloz told officers at the time that they had been temporarily blinded by the sun as well. Beas' mother, Rosario Rodriguez, came to her daughter's defense claiming that she posted the Facebook update as she sat in her car while waiting for it to warm up outside her boyfriend's home, which is located two miles away from where the crash occurred.
Cabrales' lawyer, David Wise, acknowledged that he still needs to figure out whether the timing mechanisms of both Veloz' cell phone and Beas' were in sync. He also must verify whether Beas' Facebook page did, in fact, update immediately.