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Calif. Woman Sentenced to 6 Years for Fatal Texting Crash

April 09, 2009

A woman who crashed into a line of stopped vehicles while text-messaging on her cell phone has been sentenced to six years in a California prison for killing the female passenger of one of the vehicles, according to the New York Times

Deborah Matis-Engle was sentenced April 3 by a judge in Redding, Calif. 

Investigators said Deborah Matis-Engle was speeding and text messaging when she slammed into the vehicles stopped at a construction zone in August 2007. 

Shasta County prosecutor Stephanie Bridgett said the 49-year-old woman had paid several bills by cell phone in the moments before the crash. 

She was in the middle of one of those transactions when she struck a vehicle that burst into flames, killing 46-year-old Petra Winn. 

Defense attorney Jeffrey Stotter said he will appeal.

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