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Woman Pleads Guilty To Lesser Charges In Deadly Distracted Driving Crash

Woman Pleads Guilty To Lesser Charges In Deadly Distracted Driving Crash

CREATED Jul 15, 2014
LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. - A Lawrenceburg woman accused of texting and driving in the moments prior to causing a crash that killed two people on a motorcycle will not be going to trial.

Misti Risner, age 37, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminally negligent homicide Monday morning.

Risner was initially charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in the March 17, 2013, crash that killed Clyde Newton and his wife Willodean.

Initial police reports showed there was evidence on Risner's phone that proved she was using it just before the crash on U.S. 64 and Ezell Drive, near Crockett State Park.

District Attorney General Mike Bottoms said they reluctanly accepted the deal because of a recent Supreme Court ruling that prevents police from searching cellphones without a warrant.

"To lose two people in such a tragic way, and have a good case just go down the tubes is just heartbreaking," said Bottoms. 

Matt Lynn, the son-in-law of the two victims, said he was disappointed the Supreme Court ruling made it more difficult for prosecutors to try the original charges. 

"I'm upset with government, upset with the Supreme Court and the ruling," Lynn said. "I don't know that they really knew how this ruling is going to affect others."

Risner will be sentenced in August. She could face one to two years in prison.