Driver who texted emoji just before killing 3 on highway gets one-year sentence
WTVR / Goochland County
Prosecutors said they have evidence that Clair Carr sent an emoji text just three seconds before the collision.

By Jake Burns, WTVR

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- A Goochland judge accepted a plea deal Tuesday between prosecutors and attorneys for the woman who hit and killed three people on the side of Route 288 near West Creek Parkway last year.

Despite evidence that Clair Carr was texting in the seconds leading up to the collision, prosecutors and the judge said Virginia law was "inadequate" when prosecuting a distracted driving case like this one.

On the night of June 27, 2018, Linli Xu struck a deer on Route 288 southbound, causing her Mercedes to engage the emergency brake and stranding the vehicle in the left travel lane.

Amy Abbott and Justin Ransome stopped to help Xu, and prosecutors said all three were standing off the roadway to the left of the vehicle when Carr approached the scene.

Prosecutors said Carr swerved left to avoid hitting Xu's Mercedes, but struck the three victims going more than 60 miles per hour, despite slamming on her brakes. Carr remained on scene.

Goochland prosecutors said they have evidence that Carr sent an emoji text just three seconds before the collision, but added Virginia distracted laws make it difficult to prove criminal negligence in cases like this one.

Carr was originally charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter connected to the wreck. As a part of a deal with prosecutors, Carr entered a guilty plea to one count of reckless driving. The judged sentenced her to one year in jail with work release. Carr was taken into custody immediately after the hearing.

Carr begins serving her jail term immediately. She will be permitted release to work during the week, and her driving privileges were suspended for six months, per the terms of the plea agreement.

MORE: Driver who texted an emoji moments before killing 3 on Virginia highway gets one-year sentence - WTVR