Woman sentenced to 6 years in prison in fatal 2011 distracted driving case

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A judge sentenced 31-year-old Jorene Nicolas to six years in prison after she was found guilty of hitting and killing a woman on the 405 Freeway in 2011.

In April 2011, Deanna Mauer, 23, was killed while she was waiting in traffic on the 405 Freeway in Westminster when Nicolas slammed into the back of her car at 85 miles per hour.

During the trial, prosecutors said Nicolas was distracted on her cellphone and texting right before the crash. Evidence showed that she sent 13 text messages 15 minutes before the crash. Jurors found her guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter in August.

The judge said the reasoning for giving Nicolas the maximum sentence is because she showed a "lack of remorse" during her trial.

Mauer's family posted a billboard near State Route 22 as a way to honor their daughter and to warn people not to text and drive.

Nicolas was tried in 2014, but a jury was deadlocked on the decision. She also backed out of a plea deal earlier this year that would have resulted in no prison time and only one year in jail.
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