On a sad day for one family, a careless driver added to their misery. The case involves a crash into a funeral procession in June. The outcome in court Wednesday wasn't what the victims expected.
Traveling in a funeral procession, Andrew Masters and his mom Lucinda had an unexpected brush with death. Andrew said, "We were both hanging upside down with our seat belts fastened."
As mourners passed through 78th and Sorensen Parkway, a driver smashed into the Masters' vehicle which flipped and hit the funeral escort car protecting the procession.
The city prosecutor says it doesn't matter that the driver approached the intersection thinking she had a green light because she was on her cell phone and should have noticed the escorted funeral procession.
Sheena Loftin pleaded no contest and got a $200 fine.
Omaha City Prosecutor David Smalheiser said, ”We're disappointed in the amount of the fine imposed. But we're grateful of the fact now she's been found guilty of no proof of insurance. Her driving privileges are going to be suspended."
The Masters and a pregnant passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries but serious enough, they thought, for a tougher penalty.
Lucinda Masters said, "I thought she kind of got off easy since she was on her cell phone and wasn't paying attention to what was going on."
On the day of the crash, Loftin provided police with an insurance card that the victims discovered was not valid.
Andrew Masters said, ”At first I’m like, at least everybody is OK and stuff. Then I found out no insurance and this is horrible."
The crash into the procession forced Andrew and his mother to miss the graveside service for the father of a family friend. But they feel lucky the impact didn't lead to another funeral or more.
Our research found Nebraska has no law governing funeral processions but Omaha city ordinance prohibits driving through one. Cars in the funeral procession have the right-of-way in an intersection, even at red lights.