Woman found guilty in fatal nail polish crash

May 7, 2010 4:43:39 AM PDT
A Lake County jury found a southwest suburban woman guilty of reckless homicide in a crash that killed a motorcycle rider.

Lora Hunt, 49, of Morris, Ill. was painting her nails and driving when her car struck and killed Anita Zaffke. Zaffke was sitting on her motorcycle at an intersection in Lake Zurich.

The jury of eight women and four men took about three and a half hours to reach a verdict.

Hunt, who was surrounded by loved ones Thursday, will remain free on bond.

The victim's family says there is no winner in this case.

"Two families will forever carry the hurt and anguish caused by one person's actions behind the wheel," said Greg Zaffke, Anita's son.

Since the accident, Zaffke's son has been on a mission to educate others about distracted drivers, even going to Washington to take part in a Distracted Drivers summit. And he keeps the fingernails on his left hand painted black, so when people ask why he tells them.

"I got a chance to tell them what happened to my mom, along with other stories that I heard from victims and their families the last year," said Zaffke.

It has been a year since Hunt's car slammed into Kaffke at an intersection near Lake Zurich. Accidents, like this one, have sparked a nationwide movement to raise awareness about driving while distracted. FocusDriven is the first non-profit group devoted to combating distracted drivers and supporting the victims' families.

"We can only hope that the news of this will create and serve as a warning to other distracted drivers," said Rob Reynolds of FocusDriven.

Reynolds' 16-year-old daughter was killed by a distracted driver.

"The question we have to ask ourselves is no matter what you're doing in a car, are you going to jump out of the car and say, 'I'm sorry. I didn't see you because I was,' and insert your favorite distraction here," said Reynolds.

In court, Hunt testified that she had stopped painting her fingernails before the accident. Her attorney argued she may have been distracted but she wasn't reckless.

"She is being made an example of. If you know her, that's kind of sad. This is truly a loving, caring, wonderful lady. I have no doubt if she could bring Anita back, she would," said Jeff Tomczak, Hunt's defense attorney.

Now that a jury has found Hunt guilty, she could be sentenced anywhere from probation to five years in prison. That sentencing date will take place a later time. In the meantime, she is expected to back in court in June.


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