News

Crash victim's phone had half-written text message on it

Paula Jessep died in a head-on crash three days before last Christmas. Photo / Supplied
Paula Jessep died in a head-on crash three days before last Christmas. Photo / Supplied

A POLICE officer has told how he picked up the phone of a driver killed in a road crash and found a half-written text message on it.

The inquest into the death of Paula Jessep, 37, in Rotorua yesterday heard how she died on December 22 last year when her Toyota Rav 4 collided head-on with a Nissan Sunny on State Highway 1 north of Tirau.

Ms Jessep was alone and the Nissan was carrying three people, all of whom were injured.

Although it was raining heavily at the time, police suspected she had been texting and driving, which became illegal on November 1, 2009.

Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said when he arrived at the scene, he found Ms Jessep's cellphone in the driver's footwell of her car.

"I opened the phone as there were messages showing on the outside screen. When I opened the phone, I noted that it opened to a text message that was half-written."

Mr Troy said he read the received and sent messages, and it appeared a text conversation had been going on.


He said the wet roads did not contribute to the crash.

Coroner Wallace Bain asked how many text messages Ms Jessep had sent in the 45 minutes it would have taken her to travel from Rotorua, her starting point, to Tirau.

Mr Troy said he counted 19, the last sent about 15 minutes before the crash.

Dr Bain said that while she might have pulled over to send some of the messages, the number showed she had been sending texts while she was driving.

"We know she was texting and driving but whether she was at that particular stage."

Two young women injured in the crash have started an anti-texting and driving campaign.

Ms Jessep's son Eliot Jessep, 17, said he had turned down several requests to join it.

"I'm not thrilled about it because it puts my mum in a bad light."

He said he believed his mother could have been distracted by several things, and it wasn't necessarily texting that caused her death.

"What stood out to me was how the heater was sitting. This may not sound like a big thing but if she was driving in a hot car, that would make her a lot more tired and distracted.

"She was in Rotorua earlier in the week for a funeral and she would have been very tired."

Eliot Jessep said he did not think anyone could be 100 per cent sure texting and driving had caused his mother to crash. He said the cause of death should be noted as being "distracted in general".

Dr Bain reserved his decision.

There have been 28 phone-related road deaths since early 2007.

Last month, the Herald counted 29 people in the space of an hour using phones while they were driving north through Auckland's 80km/h central motorway junction.

Anyone using a handheld cellphone while driving can be fined $80 and get 20 demerit points.

TEXTING DEATHS

May 2006: A man dies after crashing car into a power pole. Coroner later finds he was distracted by a series of text messages.

September 2008: A Mid-Canterbury teenager was allegedly sending and reading text messages before his sports utility vehicle crashed into a car, killing two people.

March 2010: A 21-year-old man admitted being distracted by a text message when he drove into and killed a 93-year-old woman on a Hastings pedestrian crossing.

July 2010: A Rotorua teenager denies police claim he was texting moments before a crash in which 11 people were hurt, one fatally.

- THE DAILY POST

Topics:  crash victim editors picks fatal mobile phone text message



Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

Tumbulgum unites for inspiring resident's quest

Maria van Vliet (nee Lucas) recovering with the help of a beloved pet.

"She's determined to win gold”

Tweed Oztag juniors excel

Oztag Queensland State Cup Country and Barbarians' representatives Harvey Moase and Cedar Johnston training at Cudgen.

"There's a lot of venues coming into contention”

Local Partners

Take a tram to Mooball

Catching a tram from Mooball to Bryon could become a reality.


Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

AUSSIE hip hop outfit Bliss N Eso have announced they will play a tribute show for the stuntman killed during the filming of their music video.

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

Alyse and Matt battled Josh and Amy in a spiteful elimination cook-off.

Bottom of the ladder faces off in spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

Jilted Married At First Sight groom rejected again

Is Married at First Sight groom's second chance over already?

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Get Moo-ving to Mooball

The old Pacific Highway and Murwillumbah railway line cut a parrallel path throughThe thriving village of Mooball , looking North East towards Murwillumbah and Mount Warning.

An expansion plan has been approved.

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!