Mom accused of texting seconds before deadly crash acquitted in death of daughter, 2 nieces
A Wisconsin mom broke down in tears after she was found not guilty in the deaths of her 11-year-old daughter and two little nieces.
Prosecutors accused Wisconsin mom Kari Milberg of texting a friend just 19 seconds before her SUV collided with a truck in December 2013, killing her daughter, 11-year-old Lydia Milberg, and her two nieces, Clara Pavek and Laynie Jo Amos, both 5.
Photos from the case:
KSTP reporter Brett Houghlin was in the courtroom. He told Inside Edition: "It all happened so quickly, I don't think anybody in the family knew the verdict was going to be happening that day."
Milberg hugged friends and family after the jury took less than two hours to return the not guilty verdict.
The girls, known as the three angels, were in the backseat of the crumpled SUV.
In the 911 call, a witness told the dispatcher: "There is nobody moving in the SUV."
Milberg's cell phone was found at the crash scene. Investigators discovered a Facebook message that they said was her and a male friend texting about meeting up for lunch in what sounds like a flirtatious exchange.
"I'm nervous," she texted.
"Takes a lot to get me nervous," he responded.
She replied: "I am 2! Kinda bad!"
He wrote back: "I'm not nervous..."
Prosecutors said 19 seconds later, the SUV swerved into the on-coming lane of traffic, crashing head-on into a truck on an ice-covered Wisconsin highway.
Milberg's attorney says the icy road conditions were responsible for the crash.
Milberg's attorney says she suffered amnesia and doesn't remember what happened. Her family is now reportedly divided over the verdict.
"There was three kids lost in this whole case and you can imagine she has gone through enough. Even if she was convicted in this, there is no win," Houghlin said.
Pierce County District Attorney Sean Froelich said in a statement: "This is a horrible tragedy...and it's been increasingly obvious that texting and driving is on the rise and it's something we want to focus on. I respect the jury's verdict, but regardless of the outcome, it doesn't change the fact that three kids lost their lives in this crash."