CRYSTAL LAKE – A 16-year-old from Crystal Lake has been charged after police said she drove her car into the attached garage of a house while texting and driving.
There were no injuries in the crash that happened about 1 p.m. Sunday in the 800 block of Wedgewood Drive in Crystal Lake. An employee from the city’s building department was called to inspect the structural integrity of the house.
The home was declared habitable.
Police said the girl had been driving a 1998 Lexus ES300 west on Country Club Road when the car left the road at a curve, went across a lawn, and then struck the house, causing extensive damage to both the car and home.
While investigating, officers had access to the girl’s phone, which indicated that about the time of the crash there had been incoming and outgoing texts, said Deputy Chief Gene Lowery of the Crystal Lake Police Department.
Officers then made contact with the other person, who confirmed that they had been texting each other, Lowery said.
“When she was interviewed concerning the accident and presenting those facts, she did admit that she was texting at the time of the accident,” Lowery said.
The girl was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision and improper use of an electronic communication device. She was released to her parents.
Composing, sending or reading text messages, instant messages and e-mails or surfing the internet while driving was outlawed in Illinois as of Jan. 1.
Lowery said that Crystal Lake police have issued citations for texting while driving in the past – a Lake in the Hills man faces charges including DUI after an officer saw him typing on a phone, driving erratically and speeding earlier this month.
“How fortunate for this young lady and the occupants of this house that nobody was injured,” Lowery said. “It does point out that especially with inexperienced drivers, but with any driver, you have to have your focus on the road. Anything can happen within a matter of a few seconds that could alter your life.”