816 North

Settlement close in texting-driver lawsuit

Updated: 2013-06-15T03:32:32Z

By GLENN E. RICE

The Kansas City Star

Relatives of a Northland great-grandmother, who was killed in an auto accident caused by a teen who was texting while driving, will be paid $200,000, according to a settlement petition filed this week in Platte County Circuit Court.

The children of Loretta J. Larimer filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Rachel Gannon for causing the death of their mother, who died Sept. 26, 2011, after pulling off a Kansas City, North road into grass in an attempt to avoid the out-of-control vehicle headed her way.

Gannon, then 16, was sending text messages, looking at her phone and listening to loud music when her vehicle slammed into Larimer’s in the 12200 block of Northwest Skyview Road. The 72-year-old Camden Point woman had to be cut out of her Nissan Altima.

Larimer was pronounced dead at a hospital. Her granddaughter suffered a chipped arm bone, an injured neck and numerous bruises.

The settlement application, filed Wednesday, says the money will be paid to Larimer’s four children and two grandchildren by two insurance carriers. A court hearing on the settlement is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Robert S. Bruer, the attorney representing Larimer’s relatives, declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

Gannon pleaded guilty on May 31, 2012, to second-degree involuntary manslaughter, third-degree assault and violating the 2009 Missouri law that prohibits motorists 21 or younger from text-messaging while driving.

At the time, a circuit court judge suspended Gannon’s sentence and placed her on five years’ probation. She was ordered to serve 48 hours of “shock time” in the county jail, find a job, serve 72 days of house arrest and perform 300 hours of community service.

In September, Circuit Judge Abe Shafer revoked her probation on the assault charge and sentenced Gannon to a year in the county jail for violating her probation.

She had moved out of her parents’ home and into a residence with her boyfriend and quit her job, both without the permission of her probation officer. Gannon also consumed alcohol at a party she threw with some other teens while her parents were out of town.

A court hearing is scheduled for July 3, where Shafer could decide whether to send Gannon to prison for four years.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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