Distracted driving leads to murder charge for Michigan man

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- A Michigan truck driver has been indicted on murder and other charges, stemming from a fatal collision on I-64 near the west Frankfort exit late last month Kentucky State Police say was caused by distracted driving.

Jerry Elder Jr., 45, of Flint, Michigan was indicted by the Franklin County Grand Jury for one count each of murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and two counts of felony wanton endangerment.

The KSP says shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, Elder struck the rear of a Jeep Liberty driven by 61-year-old Jeffrey Curtis of Bedford. Both vehicles then hit a Ford Explorer driven by Trina Summers, 61, of Shepherdsville.

Curtis was pronounced dead at the scene by the Franklin County Coroner, while Elder and Summers were taken to Frankfort Regional Medical Center where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Elder was originally charged with manslaughter, but the grand jury returned indictments on more serious charges.

Media outlets have reported KSP told them Elder was driving through a construction zone and failed to slow down because he was watching a video on his cellphone, which was mounted on his dashboard at the time of the crash.

Elder was being held at the Franklin County Regional Jail on $50,000 bond from the manslaughter charge, but that is likely to increase following the additional charges in the indictment.

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