ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene woman who killed two young sisters because she was using a fast food app while driving has been sentenced to a combination of probation and jail time.
Shelby Buchanan received a 10-year probation sentence and was also ordered to spend 360 days confined in county jail (two consecutive 180-day sentences) for two counts of Manslaughter connected to the deaths of Melissa Grace and Starla Lindley, ages 14 and 11.
Court officials hope Buchanan’s sentence will serve as a precedent for other distracted driving crimes, which are only expected to increase as technology continues to advance. Prosecutors arguing that although her actions did not convey any ill intent, they did involve an indifference toward other lives.
Melissa and Starla were killed upon impact when Buchanan slammed into the back of their minivan while driving her pickup down I-20 in Abilene in March 2018.
Court documents state investigators arrived on scene and found Melissa Grace and Starla already deceased.
A search warrant executed on Buchanan’s phone revealed, “that at the time of the crash, Buchanan was actively using the Chick-fil-A application,” according to the documents.
In addition to the probation sentence and jail time, Buchanan will also have to pay a $500 fine to cover the cost of court, as well as a restitution to the family of Melissa and Starla in an amount which will be determined by the probation department.
As a condition of probation, Buchanan must also complete 800 hours of community service.