Rohnert Park Teen Charged With Manslaughter In Crosswalk Death

ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) — A Rohnert Park teen, who killed a 2-year-old girl and injured her mother in a Rohnert Park crosswalk while allegedly sending a text message on her phone, was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter Monday.

Kaitlyn Dunaway, 18, allegedly caused the death of Calli Murray by texting while driving, driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions and failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.

Ravitch said a misdemeanor charge was filed because the alleged driving offenses do not amount to felonies.

Dunaway, a Sonoma State University student, was issued a citation to appear in Sonoma County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Ravitch said.

The collision at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 also injured the girl’s mother, Ling Murray, 42, who also was in the crosswalk at Snyder Lane and Medical Center Drive in Rohnert Park.

She suffered major injuries and was in a hospital, then a rehabilitation facility, until early March.

“This is a tragic case,” Ravitch said in a news release. “The Murrays will forever mourn the loss of their young daughter.”

Ravitch said Dunaway is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty.

“Without regard to the facts or outcome of this case, it bears repeating that driving while texting is a dangerous and real threat to every member of our community. Drivers, passengers and bystanders are all at risk,” Ravitch said.

Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Nicks said in December that Dunaway acknowledged she was using her Verizon phone at the time of the collision but she was unsure if she was texting or talking on the phone.

A headset that would have enabled hands-free phone use was not found in Dunaway’s 1997 Honda, Nicks said.

Murray and her daughter were returning to their Rohnert Park home from nearby Sunrise Park. They were walking east on Snyder Lane in the crosswalk approximately 11 feet from the curb when they were struck by the Honda on their left, Nicks said.

Nicks said speed was not a factor in the crash.

Dunaway, a freshman, was returning to Sonoma State University after visiting her mother’s home and was devastated after the crash, Nicks said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • mike

    Corrupt FBI and DEA tamper with their suspects cars in hopes of causing a serious accident.

    They where also shooting BB guns at my car. I had to call the CHP several times and filed a complaint with the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) about corrupt DoJ employees.

    • Dr. Phil

      you need to see a doctor, QUICK!

  • Carol Shoaff

    My mom died as the result of her driver messing with her cell phone. It was going to go to trial and it was possible she would get up to a year in jail but the DA (San Mateo County) wimped out saying that juries don’t tend to convict when it’a and accident so they dismissed her change. I think she got a $20 ticket. Sorry, I hope for better for this family that lost their little girl but I’ve lost my faith in the system.

    • kathy

      totally agree

  • Rainman

    We’re not supposed to outlive our children. I cannot imagine the incredible pain the Murray family must be going through now. My sincerest condolences to them for their loss. It’s close to home for me as I have a five-year-old daughter who is the love of my life. At the same time, I can also imagine that the person who committed this senseless act must have to carry the weight of this burden for the rest of her life.

    • frank Sabella

      do you think they care? if they did they wouldn’t be driving that way, a tough sentence would send the message, but with these sissy judges I bet she will get a year probation at the best!

  • k

    I didn’t know if I was talking or texting!! Put this lying b…. in jail. stupid a..

    And pedestrians, don’t take the right-of-way for grantid, pay attention!

  • frank Sabella

    We need tough laws on distracted drivers whether be by cell phone, texting or whatever. The real problem in America is the easiness to get a driver license, drivers are not even required to learn how to park the car!!!! try to get a license in Europe or South America, teens are not even allowed to drive, only at 18 years old. A mother injured, a child is dead and a family hurt for the rest of their lives, will justice do its job? what is the point of fighting wars overseas for justice when we cannot make it happen in our own soil?

  • michael

    If the child that was killed,belonged to the DA or a public official,you can believe felony charges would brought against this very stupid young lady !!!!!!

  • NO

    I almost got in accident a few time ignore stop sign and light. wish more of these driving off a cliff and burn….if they like talking and text so much while they’re driving

  • No Justice

    MISDEMEANOR??? She was TEXTING while driving and KILLED a child. They should put her in prison 25 to life. This is not JUSTICE, this is total BS! Killing someone while texting is the same as killing them while drunk driving.

  • Juat sayin"

    A foretelling of events to come in San Francisco as distracted drivers across the city use their city-developed, federally funded I-phone app to help them find parking. Thanks to SFMTA and their master developer J. Primus!

  • SquirrelGirl

    it’s a sad thing that happened, no doubt. like the rest of you, i don’t have the facts of the case in front of me, so i think i’ll leave the passing of judgement to the court.

    i have to agree with the comment about pedestrians. people in general take this whole right-of-way concept way too far. this is your life! isn’t that worth waiting to make sure the oncoming traffic is actually going to stop? a lot of people seem to step out with the attitude of “driver, you are required to stop, so if you hit me, you are at fault.” well you may be right, but is injured or dead worth being right over?

  • Smokey

    Children lack the maturity to operate a motor vehicle, the age for a drivers license should be raised to 25.

    • Not on WELFARE

      And they should not give LICENSES to 80 year olds. OHH!!! Smokey your probably 80 huh?

  • E

    While driving and using your cell for texting is certainly wrong and unsafe, pedestrians should be making sure that a vehicle has come to a complete stop before crossing the street, whether they are in a cross walk and have the “right-of-way” or not, especially if they have a CHILD with them. It definitely sucks that a child lost it’s life due to this ACCIDENT (obviously an 18 year old college student did not run them down in cold blood), no doubt about that, but the mother showed a definite lack of responsibility (equal to that of the driver in my opinion) for stepping into the crosswalk assuming all vehicles would stop for her… You can never ASSUME that people see you crossing. What are you taught in grade school about this: When crossing, look both ways, and if there is a car coming, make sure you make eye contact with the driver and that their vehicle has come to a COMPLETE stop before stepping out into the street, ESPECIALLY if the vehicle does not have a stop sign or traffic signal! I commute to work and believe me, I see more adults with their faces glued to their phones then young adults and teenagers. This is a cultural problem… and really, this 18 year old could have been any one of us, cuz really, eating, drinking, puting on make-up, looking at a map on any number of things we ALL do while driving (but take for granted) are all just as unsafe!

  • Missie5517

    She was stupid and irresponsible and she killed a little girl. She should be taught a lesson and be sent to prison for devastating that family like she has. It’s disgusting that she would only get 1 year or less. That little girl gets NO more years. It’s the same as someone driving while drinking, or high. Plain and Simple, “It’s Irresponsible” and she needs to be held accountable. Calli will never get to experience life and her parents will never get to see her beautiful smile again. Kaitlyn needs to be put away for a long time, not out in a year and back to her normal life. Sure, she has to live with the fact that she killed someone for the rest of her life, but at least she gets to live. She took Calli’s life away from her and her family. I say give her at least 20 years. She deserves it!!!

  • Not on WELFARE

    I love how this TEEN only killed one and is getting MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES but you have an 80 something year old that killed like 10 people and injured more than 30 and the guy gets off. WHAT A MESSED UP AND CORRUPT JUSTICE SYSTEM WE HAVE. I guess it pays to be OLD!!!!! You can do about everything and get away with it……..

  • Not on WELFARE

    Some of the instances were kids get hit while walking with their MOM or while in a stroller I blame the MOM because I see all the time these women do not look when stepping off curb. OR these women see the light changing and try running across street with kids in tow. THEY SHOULD TAKE KIDS FROM PEOPLE THAT HAVE NO SENSE OF WHAT IT IS TO BE A PARENT AND THEY SHOULD PUT THEM IN JAIL.



  • Tony S

    If the two unfortunate victims had NOT been in a crosswalk, the driver would have got off scot-free, and the mother would have been convicted of homicide.

    I hate to say it, but everybody has a responsibility when crossing a busy roadway. Either she didn’t look before crossing, or she just assumed that the driver of the vehicle that hit her, and killed her daughter, saw her, and just assumed that it would stop. Big mistake.

    Sure, it was the drivers fault, but you can never, ever just assume that a vehicle will stop for you. Especially when you have a child with you, you can’t run.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Guide To The Holidays
Shine A Light On The Holiday Season With ‘Giving Tuesday’

Listen Live