Woman texting, driving guilty of manslaughter
A Beaumont woman was sentenced to 10 years probation and six months in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of a husband and father.
Rotashia Leigh Baird was indicted Feb. 23, 2012 for causing the death of Johnny Nathan Langton in a December 2011 collision. Phone records showed Baird might have been texting and driving, having received a text message some three minutes before the deadly crash. Prosecutors said they had no definitive proof Baird was actually texting at the time of the wreck, however.
“There are facts that suggests she was texting and driving prior to the accident,” prosecutor Clint Woods said.
Judge Layne Walker said he would not make his judgment based on Baird’s alleged texting and driving, but instead would make his judgment based upon witnesses who said Baird was driving erratically.
“Speeding, passing, erratic, the whole nine yards,” Walker said.
Walker, at the request of Langton’s wife, Dawn Langton, allowed Baird to walk free as she is 15 weeks pregnant. Baird must report to prison for her six months of jail time as soon as she’s given birth, Walker said.
“She had never been in trouble with the law and she showed remorse,” Woods said after Baird was sentenced.
As she exited the courtroom consumed by tears, Baird’s only comment to reporters was “I’m just sorry.”
Dawn Langton said her husband didn’t deserve to die that December day, adding that no OMG is worth someone’s life.
“You’re not 10-foot tall and bulletproof,” Dawn said. “There is no text that is worth answering or texting to where you would get in a wreck.”
As to the question of if Baird was in fact texting and driving, Woods said we might never know.
“Only she will know whether or not she was actually reading a text and of course, she doesn’t remember what happened because of the wreck,” Woods said. “She’s the only one who knows the answer to that.”
Despite the death of the father of her children, Dawn said she’s happy with Baird’s sentence.
“She’s gonna feel guilt the rest of her life,” Dawn said. “That’s one of her sentences. She’ll see him the rest of her life. She won’t forget it.”