Driver fined for texts before fatal crash south of Lafayette

August 31, 2016

A Tippecanoe County judge has ordered a central Indiana man to pay a $300 fine and court costs for texting on his cellphone shortly before a crash that killed a driving instructor.

During a court hearing Monday, the judge stopped short of blaming the Jan. 16 crash on the texting by 24-year-old Nicholas Salem of Michigantown, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.

Salem was charged with using a telecommunications device while driving after authorities say his pickup truck rear-ended an Indiana All-Star Driving School car with a 16-year-old student driver at full speed on U.S. 52.

Salem said he wasn't using his phone at the time of the crash that killed Paul Foster.

"To me, the driver's ed student shouldn't have been told to make a U-turn on (U.S.) 52," Salem said. "It's unfortunate for the family, but it was too late by the time I saw the car."

Foster's daughter, Amy Coon, said the family was coming to grips with the fact that there wouldn't be a criminal trial in the incident.

"Just a few dollars for him, I guess that's all," Coon said. "I've been saying all along I wasn't hoping to ruin more families over this. . I hope someday Mr. Salem realizes how lucky he is that he wasn't hurt and that he will teach his son to be a better driver than he showed that day. Because my dad isn't going to be around to be the one to give his son a driving lesson. My dad would have been good at that."


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