Morris resident Lora Hunt was convicted of reckless homicide for rear-ending the motorcycle of 56-year-old Anita Zaffke, killing her, while she was distracted by nail polish, the Chicago Tribune reported. The victim's family members hope to make some good out of the tragedy by raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
Lora Hunt's criminal attorney said his client would not have been convicted of a crime had she been distracted by a cell phone or a sandwich, to which prosecutor Mike Mermel replied that polishing one's nails is very different from other forms of distracted driving:
"It is not the same as biting a sandwich ... it's a voluntary disablement. She might as well have been in the back seat making a sandwich."
If she had been texting before the incident, for example, it may have been treated similarly to a DUI; but a Chicago DUI lawyer could better explain the differences and similarities between drunk driving and distracted driving. Lora Hunt's attorney, Jeff Tomczak, had tried to argue that his client was distracted and should not have been charged with criminal recklessness.
In any event, a Lake County jury found Lora Hunt guilty after deliberating for 3 1/2 hours. The 49-year-old convict was described as sitting "without emotion" as the verdict was read, and then left the courtroom in tears. Jeff Tomczak said his client deeply grieves the incident:
"Her words after the verdict was read were, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'"
She is scheduled for a June 15 status update before sentencing and faces as little as probation or as much as five years in prison.
The victim's son, Gregory Zaffke II, started a distracted driving awareness group called the Black Nail Brigade and has been painting the nails of one hand black in memory of his mother.