Driver Sentenced to prison in 2019 killing of a motorcyclist on SR101

August 24, 2019 — a driver rear ended a motorcyclists on SR101, killing him.

This is certainly one for the record books: sending a not-impaired driver to prison. This is exceedingly rare (but see below, there’s more to this story). There is one other case where a driver was convicted in the 2013 killing of DPS officer Tim Huffman; that driver was said to be distracted by and “watching” his phone….

So out of roughly a thousand road-deaths a year in AZ, and many more serious injuries per year, we get, what?, 2 criminal convictions with prison time over a period of a decade or more? [1]

Here is part of a DPS press release (or on fb) about the case:

…“Operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility,” said Lt. Colonel Deston Coleman Jr., Assistant Director of the Highway Patrol Division. “One moment of distraction can have life-or-death consequences. Tragedies such as this can be avoided with your help. Please do not text and drive.”

Comparisons by some news outlets to the texting case against the driver who killed Officer Clayton Townsend, also 2019, are confusing because the county attorney eventually dropped all charges in that case; the killing was explained by an apparent “medical event” that caused the driver to lose control, rather than distraction.

Criminal Case

Maricopa County Superior case CR-2020002227; Minutes: courtminutes, and here is the sentencing order

The first inkling that something else is going on with this defendant is the negligent homicide was sentenced as “repetitive”.

In any event, “After she’s released from prison, Schlief will be placed on probation for four years and won’t be allowed to operate a car during that time…” sounds good but hopefully someone will be verifying that she is not driving, she has a long history of driving without a valid license; and as we’ve seen with other driver-felons, they just drive despite revoked licenses even while on probation.

Here earlier serious criminal cases were CR-2011111235 which involved Identity Theft, and  CR-2014101795 which involved felony shoplifting “organized retail theft”; but here long history to traffic violations is more concerning in terms of being a driver unconcerned for the safety of others on the roads. Here’s caselookup as of today, it appears she continued to rack up tickets after she killed Trovillion:


Here’s a news blurb:

Valley driver convicted of 25-year-old’s death for texting right before fatal crash
PHOENIX — A distracted driver was sentenced to prison last month for a causing a fatal collision in Peoria that killed a 25-year-old motorcyclist… Amanda Schlief, 35, has been sentenced to spend 4.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections after she pleaded guilty to the negligent homicide of Clayton Trovillion.
… Schlief was indicted about a year later, shortly before Arizona’s “Hands-Free” driving law was adopted and added new penalties for drivers caught using their phones.
…DPS Investigators learned Schlief was actively texting on her phone immediately prior to the crash…
DPS said the case was the first in the agency’s history involving the driver of a passenger car getting convicted of negligent homicide for distracted driving…
After she’s released from prison, Schlief will be placed on probation for four years and won’t be allowed to operate a car during that time, court records show.



[1] In perhaps the most famous distracted-driver case, an Uber driver in 2018 killed a pedestrian while the vehicle was was under test in autonomous mode; police say the driver (there’s video!) was watching TV at the time. That driver eventually plead to endangerment and was sentenced to some probation.

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