Texting driver receives prison sentence in negligent homicide - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Texting driver receives prison sentence in negligent homicide

MADISON (WKOW) -- A Sun Prairie woman who was texting when she hit and killed a UW-Madison student in  2010 received a one year prison sentence Friday for her conviction of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle.

Stephanie Kanoff ran into 21-year-old Dylan Ellefson on East Johnson Street in October of 2010 as Ellefson attended to his stalled car.

Assistant Attorney General Tara Jenswold conceded many people text while driving. Jenswold urged Judge Stephen Ehlke to try to deter others from texting while behind the wheel, by delivering a stiff sentence for Kanoff.

Kanoff's attorney, Murali Jasti said a probation sentence with community service requirements would address what happened in this case.

Ehlke rejected the prosecution's two year recommended prison sentence, but also rejected a probation sentence, noting the lack of any incarceration for Kanoff would depreciate what happened to Ellefson.

Both Ellefson's mother and father had asked the judge to sentence Kanoff to the maximum five year sentence, charactering her as in denial over the crime, and unrepentant.

"I have spent many days just staring at the sky, asking God to please forgive me," Kanoff told Ehlke.

Kanoff also said she realized Ellefson's parents may never forgive her.

Kanoff spent nearly four minutes continuously using her phone with calls and texts as he drove on East Johnson Street before hitting Ellefson as she texted her boyfriend.

Kanoff's crime of homicide by negligent operation took place before Wisconsin passed its law banning texting and driving. A jury convicted Kanoff in July after a trial.



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