A Costa Mesa man was convicted by jury for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, an offense that could result in up to nine years in prison.
Martin Kuehl, 42, was found guilty of texting while driving just before he hit and killed a pedestrian.
The district attorney prosecuting the case presented Kuehl's cell phone records as evidence. The records show that Kuehl sent four text messages and received three messages between 7:58 a.m. and 8:27 a.m. on the day of the accident. He received a message at 8:25 a.m. and replied two minutes later. Then, at approximately 8:31 a.m., 911 dispatchers were flooded with calls about the accident.
According to the district attorney, Kuehl didn't start driving when the light turned green, so the driver behind him honked. Kuehl then made a too-wide left turn, but while drifting back into the left lane he struck the victim, 32-year-old Martha Ovalle.
A court date for Kuehl's sentencing has been scheduled for March 12. His attorney is already planning to appeal the conviction.
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