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Driver On Trial After Daughter And Nieces Died In Crash

A Wisconsin woman who crashed her SUV, killing her daughter and two nieces, is on trial to decide if it was an accident or a crime.

In December 2013, 35-year-old Kari Jo Milberg’s car crash killed her 11-year-old daughter, Lydia Milberg, and two 5-year-old nieces, Laynie Joe Amos and Clara Pavek, KARE reports.  

Milberg wept in court as the 911 call made by a woman driving behind the SUV played, KSTP reports.

"Is there an injury? Yah, there has to be. There's nobody moving in the SUV.  There are children in the vehicle. How many patients? Probably four or five, he can't tell. We can hear children crying," Myrna Rian said on the call.

Since that day, Milberg has amnesia due to brain injuries from the crash.

According to defense attorney Aaron Nelson, the woman has “no memory of what happened there at all.”

“She lost a lot,” Nelson added, reports. “She lost her daughter. She lost her niece. She lost her other niece.”

Nelson argues the car crash was simply an accident as a result of balding tires. He said Milberg had been driving normally, but winter’s slippery roads made it harder to drive on worn tires.

A Pierce County deputy testified in court the road was dry at the time of the crash, reports

Prosecutor Sean Froelich argues the crash was a case of distracted driving, making it a crime.

Moments before the crash, he says Milberg's phone reveals she had texted a man, "I'll meet you for lunch," before driving “right into the path of the truck.”

“Pay close attention to the time and content of the messages,” he said, adding the message was sent 27 seconds before the 911 call. “Timing’s very important in this case.”

Nelson argues these text messages may have been sent by Milberg’s daughter.

"I'm trying to show the jury they [the police] failed to investigate," Nelson said.

If Milberg is convicted of a crime, she could face up to 30 years in prison.

Sources: KARE, / Photo credit: KARE

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