A Harrodsburg man will speak to schools and civic groups about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving as part of a plea agreement following a fatal accident in January 2011 that killed a local teen.
After an investigation by Kentucky State Police, Kevin Butler, 31, was charged with reckless homicide subsequent to the wreck that killed 17-year-old Trista Shoemaker, a Western Hills High School student.
Police discovered Butler ran a red light at the intersection of Green Wilson Road and U.S. 127 and struck Shoemaker’s vehicle as she turned onto the highway. Butler was distracted by his cell phone and was speeding, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland, and he didn’t stop before he entered the intersection.
Shoemaker’s sister, Amber McCoy, who was 15 at the time of the wreck, was also in the car but was not seriously injured, according to court records.
Weather may also have been a factor, Cleveland said after Butler entered his plea March 9, because it snowed a few inches hours before the wreck.
The agreement says Butler will be placed on a pre-trial diversion program for five years.
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Butler to complete 250 hours of community service including the speaking engagements and public service announcements regarding the event.
“This little girl played volleyball on my daughter’s team, and while I didn’t know her, I remember when the call came in,” Wingate said Friday morning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my daughter cry like that; it was very, very traumatic, and you definitely need to complete your community service.”
If Butler fails to complete his five-year diversion program, he faces five years for reckless homicide and one year for assault.
“We had a very nice meeting with the family, and we discussed the situation,” said Hadden Dean, Butler’s attorney. “We continue to be very sorry for the loss of their daughter.”