texting while drivingJeffrey Lloyd Bascom, 29 years old, was sentenced to five years in prison for causing the death of Thomas Lavelle Clark, a 9th grader at Vernal Junior High School. Bascom will also serve a concurrent six-month term for possession of spice.

According to KSL.com news, Bascom was driving a pickup truck that struck Clark while he and a friend were walking along 500 West near 1200 South at about 9 p.m. The report says the impact threw the 15-year-old about 40 feet in the air. He landed next to a barbed wire fence that separates a cow pasture from a roadside ditch. His friend was not injured.

Clark was taken by ambulance to Ashley Regional Medical Center, and then transferred by helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center. He was removed from life support Monday and died about 1:20 p.m.

Police authorities disclosed that Bascom was using his cell phone when he struck Clark. The teenager was wearing a neon yellow sweatshirt at the time of the accident and would not be hard to notice if Bascom had not been distracted by his cell phone.

According to KSL.com, a check of court records shows that Bascom has a long history of traffic violations, including one conviction for alcohol-related reckless driving in 2008 and 10 citations for speeding since 2003. The court record also shows that in three of those speeding cases he was driving more than 30 mph above the posted speed limit.

Aside from the prison term, Bascom is also required to perform community service and will talk about the dangers of distracted driving, especially on texting and driving.

He will undergo counselling for drugs and alcohol aside from counselling for the death he caused. The counselling will be provided for him behind bars.

Bascom also settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents.

We encourage everyone NOT to text and drive. The grief suffered by the victim’s family and the guilt and penalty shouldered by the offender can be avoided if we obey traffic laws at all times.

If you have been a victim of reckless driving or have sustained personal injury as a result of somebody’s negligence, call us at (801)-506-0800. We have expert personal injury lawyers to help you.

Original article by Geoff Liesik.

Photo courtesy of Jason Weaver.