Monroe County teen sentenced in distracted driving death

Teen was reaching for water bottle when pedestrian was struck, killed

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor

MONROE, Mich. - A Monroe County teenager was sentenced Monday for the death of a pedestrian in an accident attributed to distracted driving.

Eighteen-year-old Caitlin Hommerson was driving in Monroe Township last October when she dropped a water bottle. As she reached for it, she veered off a road and struck a mailbox.  Her car then hit 42-year-old Shelley Deaton, who was watching her daughter walk to a bus stop down the street. Deaton was dead at the scene.

Hommerson pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of a moving violation causing death.  Before sentencing Monday, her attorney, Bill Godfroy, wrote a letter from Hommerson.

"I feel responsible and guilty for the loss of Shelley Deaton, especially to her daughter," Godfroy read,

Judge Mark Braunlich sentenced Hommerson to 180 days in jail, but suspended the sentence upon successful completion of six months probation.  She also faces $1,000 in fines.

While some members of Shelly Deaton's family expressed outrage at the sentence, Dearton's father, Bill Deaton expressed forgiveness.

"I really don't want to see her go to jail and ruin her life, because she's just a young girl and it was an accident and there's no sense in that," Deaton said.

Caitlin Hommerson will also tell her story to the students at Bedford High School.

Her attorney says the message will be simple. She will tell students that whatever threatens to district you while driving can always wait.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.