Distracted Driver Who Caused Fatal Accident Gets Holiday Break From Jail

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — A driver convicted of killing a woman motorcyclist while distracted — painting her nails behind the wheel — gets to spend the holidays with her family.

A Lake County judge on Thursday gave Lora Hunt permission to get out of jail for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now the victim’s son asks: Where’s the justice?

Greg Zaffke uses his mom’s mangled motorcycle to make a point with young drivers. 

It’s the bike Anita Zaffke was riding while stopped at a light in 2009. Hunt slammed into the back of her motorcycle. Authorities said she was distracted because she was painting her fingernails.

“When my mom was killed we learned that we aren’t the only ones,” Greg Zaffke said. “There are thousands of families every year that are affected by this problem of distracted driving.”

Hunt was sentenced to a year and a half in jail for the incident but has been allowed to leave her cell to go to work. And now, Judge Fred Foreman is letting her out for the holidays so she can spend them with family.

“It’s a little bit of a slap in the face,” Greg Zaffke said.

Lake County allows people out of jail as part of its periodic imprisonment program. One Lake County attorney said he doesn’t think letting Hunt out for the holidays is a problem.

But Zaffke, cradling his infant son, says he’s working on legislation that would toughen the charges and the sentences for people who drive while distracted.

Calls to prosecutors and the judge were not returned.

In court Thursday, Hunt did apologize for the pain she’s caused the Zaffke family.

She gets out of jail for good in January.

Greg Zaffke continues to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving through his non-profict organization called CrashCoaliltion.

More from Dana Kozlov
  • Pinhead America

    A year and a half? They really threw the booklet at her.

  • lyndia

    I am like her son, WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? There was none in this case.

  • Roberta Waker

    Judge Foreman needs to be FIRED and the laws definitely changed. Eighteen months for killing someone, allowing her to go to work and spend the holidays with her family IS a slap in the face. The dead woman can’t spend the holidays with her family. NO release for anyone that is guilty of MURDER and 18 months is a joke – should be a minimum of 5-10 years. Wonder if the judge would be as generous if it was a member of HIS family?

  • Jim

    It’s good to hear that the mentally challenged can be Judges…it gives hope. She should not get out of jail so soon, or for any holiday breaks, as she killed someone because of her stupidity! Our judicial system is SO flawed!!!

  • Rosie

    I find it interesting that everyone has some horrible opinion of Lora and feels it is ok to judge or make such horrible comments. WHo of us have not been distracted while driving? Have you not talked on your cell phone, or looked away to change the radio station, or turned to attend to your child in the back seat? Yes, you have. You were just lucky enough to not get into an accidernt while doing it. Yes, it is terrible what happened to Anita. But spreading your hatred will not bring her back. Everyone needs to stop worrying about what is happening to Lora, and make an effort to correct the problem and focus on your own actions while driving.

    • indy

      Baloney, that’s like driving with your eyes closed and then saying it was just bad luck that you hit something.

      it’s about using your head and taking responsibility for the serious nature of driving.

      What Mrs. Hunt did has nothing to do with “luck” and it has everything to do with not paying attention to a very serious activity nor accepting due responsibility for the risk of your actions on others in traffic.

  • Tammy

    @ Rosie What are you kidding me? Yes all of us have been distracted by something while driving, checking on your child is one thing (not an excuse just a fact of life) BUT painting your nails? Hello!!! There should be strict laws against people who cause accidents while driving distracted. A moving car is a deadly weapon. You shouldn’t be reading, on the phone, texting, on your laptop, eating, putting on makeup or painting your nails while driving. Yes accidents do and will continue to happen but to paint your nails while driving is just ignorant. Maybe we should all be more worried about what is happening to Lora. If she wasn’t getting off with less than a slap on the wrists maybe it would send a message to more people to be focused on their actions while driving. If you can go to work, be at home for the holidays and only spend 18 months in jail why worry about it?

  • Mark Reynolds

    Really Rosie it isn’t about hatred or the “cookie jar syndrome,”* it’s a matter of accountability. Lora is / was not only accountable for the death of Anita but she is responsible for the loss to those she leaves behind. Anita and her loved ones did nothing to deserve her absence from our lives and while it is inevitable we all will someday exit this world there were restraints in the instant case that would assure Anita and her family many holidays together that will never be. For Hunt, missing her Holidays for one year seems like a small price to pay for her negligence in comparison to the many years of sorrow to come for those Anita left behind.

  • http://www.chicagolandcruisers.com/forums/general-cruiser-talk/4839-kill-motorcyclist-get-out-holidays.html#post45997 Kill a Motorcyclist and get out for the Holidays - Chicagoland Cruisers - Your Chicagoland Motorcycle Connection

    […] Kill a Motorcyclist and get out for the Holidays Just an FYI for those of you who have followed the case since it happened. CBS News – Distracted Driver Who Caused Fatal Accident Gets Holiday Break From Jail […]

  • indy

    Take another person’s life due to your gross negligence and only 1.5 years??? Wow. A slap in the face indeed. Our justice system is out of kilter. In many cases, people do far more time for victimless crimes.

    Must have been important to get those nails painted. Now get out for the holidays? She’s already getting out in January. sigh….I really feel for the family that was victimized.

    The United States does not take distracted driving, or driving skill in general, seriously enough. It’s criminal.

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