Fingernail Painting Trial Opens

Reckless homicide trial against Lora Hunt expected to wrap up this week

By Christian Farr and BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, May 4, 2010  |  Updated 5:30 PM CDT
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Driver Painting Nails Strikes, Kills Motorcyclist

Lora Hunt

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Driver Painting Nails Strikes, Kills Motorcyclist

A motorcycle enthusiast was thrown "a couple hundred feet" from her bike after being rear-ended by a driver who was painting her fingernails.
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The woman accused of crashing into a motorcyclist while painting her fingernails did a "very, very stupid thing" -- but she shouldn't be sent to prison, says her lawyer.

Lora Hunt crashed into Anita Zaffke's motorcycle at 50 mph last spring, throwing Zaffke from the bike. She later died at an area hospital.

Hunt's lawyer, Jeff Tomczak, said other motorists around Zaffke's motorcycle went through the intersection on a yellow light.  Zaffke stopped, giving Hunt "less than a half-second to react."

But Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said Hunt would have been better prepared to avoid a crash had she not been painting her nails while behind the wheel.

He also said that there would be evidence from the event recorder in Hunt's car that would prove she did not try to apply her brakes before the accident. 

The first witness to take the stand Tuesday was a Lake County Sheriff's Officer  who handled the traffic accident investigation.  He testified while pictures of the scene were shown to the jury.  One of the pictures showed nail polish all over the interior of the car.  Others showed the nail polish bottle between the seat and the middle console and the nail brush on the passenger's seat.

Tomczak pointed out that his client was not cited for any sort of traffic violation following the crash.  She was later charged with reckless homicide and pleaded not guilty.  If convicted, she faces five years in prison.

Prosecution is expected to wrap up its case on Wednesday morning, followed by the defense.  The jury should get the case by Thursday.

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