16-year-old charged with manslaughter in texting-and-driving death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A teenager is approved to be tried as an adult in connection with a September 2011 crash that killed a woman.

Rachel N. Gannon, 16, of Kansas City, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the second degree, third degree assault and texting while driving.

UPDATE | Passenger: Teen charged in fatal crash was texting, listening to loud music & swerving http://bit.ly/HXCv53

According to court documents provided by Platte Co. Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd, Gannon was driving north on NW Skyview Road near Interstate 435 in Kansas Ci ty when she allegedly looked at her cell phone and began texting. She subsequently ran off the road.

When she returned to the road, Gannon struck a car heading in the opposite direction, according to the documents.

The driver of the other vehicle, Loretta J. Larimer, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Larimer's 10-year-old granddaughter was in the backseat of the car, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

The Larimer family said enough time has passed, and they believe Gannon has learned a valuable lesson.

The Larimers came face to face with the Gannons at the court hearing.

"I feel bad for Rachel and her family," said John Larimer, Loretta's son. "I could tell they were distressed over this. I feel bad for them.'

UPDATE | Victim's son says teen has been punished enough http://t.co/CKj4bHwI

"This is a tragic case. Rachel is a good kid. I cannot offer additional comments because the case is still pending," Brian Gaddy, Gannon's attorney, said.

In Missouri, it is a crime to text and drive for those under the age of 21.

If convicted, Gannon faces up to four years in prison for the manslaughter charges, up to one year for the assault charge, and a $200 fine if convicted for texting and driving.

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