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Collision blamed on texting

Cary Ashby • Feb 8, 2013 at 9:38 AM

A local man accused of attempting to read a text while driving was charged with failure to control in connection with a two-vehicle collision Tuesday.

Jonathan S. Goble, 30, of 25C Summit St., was northbound about 7:45 p.m. in the 2900 block of Ridge Road in Norwalk Township. Huron County Sheriff's Maj. Greg Englund said Goble's female passenger told him "he had a text."

"He looked over at the phone, trying to read the text," Englund said.

Goble's 2001 Chevrolet car went off the east side of the road. He returned to Ridge Road, crossed the center line and hit a southbound Jeep, Englund said.

Both vehicles sustained minor damage, but there were no injuries.

While Goble only was charged with failure to control, Englund said deputies would have charged him with texting while driving if the law had been in effect.

"It doesn't take effect until March 1," the sheriff's spokesman said.

Goble also was issued a summons on possession of drug paraphernalia.

Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel provided more information on the new texting law, which is part of House Bill 99. He said it's considered a secondary driving offense for adults and a primary one for anyone under 18.

"If an officer sees (an adult) person texting while driving, they can't pull them over for (just) that violation," Christophel said.

No person shall use a "handheld, electronic wireless communications device" while driving any motor vehicle "on any street, highway or property open to the public for vehicular traffic," the law states in the Ohio Revised Code.

Christophel there's a six-month grace period that started Aug. 31 when police could issue written warnings to drivers and notify them about the law.

Englund said this is the first Huron County incident he knows of when someone could have been charged with texting while driving.

"That shows these incidents are happening and that they lead to accidents," he said.

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