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Cell phone played role in student's fatal wreck

Records show phone use in moments before wreck

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Authorities have determined a Hephzibah High School homecoming queen who died in a car wreck two days after graduating was using her phone shortly before she lost control of the vehicle.

Jewel Miller, a Hephzibah High student who was killed in a wreck last month, chose the quote "Live life like it's your last" to go with her yearbook photo. Her Verizon account shows she sent or received a text before her crash.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Jewel Miller, a Hephzibah High student who was killed in a wreck last month, chose the quote "Live life like it's your last" to go with her yearbook photo. Her Verizon account shows she sent or received a text before her crash.

In an e-mail Friday, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said records from 18-year-old Jewel Miller's Verizon Wireless account indicate she sent or received a message at 11:47 p.m. May 26.

Five minutes and 20 seconds later, an accident call was dispatched by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to emergency responders.

Tuten said the elapsed time is from "people hearing the accident, recognizing that it was an accident, responding to the scene, calling 911 and relaying the information to the 911 dispatcher."

Authorities suspected Miller was talking or texting during the accident after her flip phone was found open next to her body.

Miller was traveling west in the 1900 block of Hephzibah McBean Road when she lost control of her Chevy Aveo and ran off the road. Her car struck a power pole, snapping it in half and ejecting Miller from the vehicle. The car burst into flames.

Miller was partially trapped under the vehicle and suffered burns over most of her body, which caused her death, Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said.

She was pronounced dead shortly before 1 a.m. May 27.

The news shocked fellow Hephzibah students who gathered at the school after her death. About 100 of them stood for hours in the heat consoling each other and sharing memories of the soccer and volleyball team captain.

Many described her as funny, outgoing and down-to-earth in spite of the popularity that brought her the homecoming queen title last fall.

She had planned to play volleyball on a scholarship for a small school in Wisconsin.

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Danyell706
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Danyell706 06/18/10 - 11:41 pm
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Why are we reopening wounds

Why are we reopening wounds that are trying to heal? May Jewel R.I.P, and allow the family and friends to move past the tragedy that has struck their family. This was in bad taste AC to publish this.

blackambiance79
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blackambiance79 06/19/10 - 02:06 am
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I somewhat agree. I do feel

I somewhat agree. I do feel it was unnecessary for AC to continue to belabor the details of the accident. They just should have mentioned that it was confirmed that she was talking/texting on the her phone while driving at the time of accident and then tie it back into the new law that will go into effect July 1st. So in my opinion, second half of this story did not need publishing.

Trey Enfantay
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Trey Enfantay 06/19/10 - 04:21 am
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Hopefully at least one teen

Hopefully at least one teen or adult will read this and change their dangerous habits. I believe it's important to drive this home so if another is saved her life was not wasted.

angeleyes
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angeleyes 06/19/10 - 05:52 am
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i totally agree with you trey

i totally agree with you trey

scoobynews
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scoobynews 06/19/10 - 06:31 am
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I think it was very important

I think it was very important that AC continued following what is becoming a nationwide problem. Teens are already inexperienced drivers and many die every year as a result. Cell phones have only added to the distractions. I saw a young girl yesterday pass me by as I was waiting to pull out into on going traffic using her cell phone to text she was looking down instead of forward. It is dangerous and a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her died for what - a conversation that could have waited until she was safely home. Who knows maybe the family was contacted about this and maybe they too don't want to see any more deaths associated with cell phones.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 06/19/10 - 07:55 am
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In my humble opinion, the
Unpublished

In my humble opinion, the cause of Ms. Millers' passing MUST be be reitterated, lest this horrific "lesson" not be learned by someone else.

Danyell706
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Danyell706 06/19/10 - 10:00 am
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I see and understand everyone

I see and understand everyone reasons and opinions.
But, she wasn't the first and will not be the last!
And, it is a good chance that the family wanted this to be published, and if that's the case then very good for the family 4 sending out the message to try and save someone elses life, through their daughters death.
Again, R.I.P Jewel.......
Everyone have a great day!

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 06/19/10 - 10:08 am
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I drive in excess of 60k

I drive in excess of 60k miles per year in my job and it's a daily occurence to see cars weaving while the driver is attempting to text while "driving". I admit that I use my phone, but I DO NOT text and I use a Bluetooth headset while driving. I have ONE goal in my job and that is to get home alive on Friday afternoon.....My safety and the safety of those around me is FAR MORE important than any message that might be waiting on my phone. I have a 16 year old in the house who whines that his phone doesn't have texting and my response to him is "GET A JOB AND PAY FOR IT YOURSELF". More parents need to actually BE a parent and say NO to their kids.....Believe me, they will thank you for it in the future. I appreciate all the things my parents DIDN'T give me when I was a teen......I had to work for them myself and I took far better care of my cars and motorcycles than did my friends who's parents bought cars for them.

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