Chardon: Bainbridge man jailed for 'texting' accident

8:50 PM, Jan 9, 2010   |    comments
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Miralia, 50, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault, a fourth degree felony, on Nov. 12.

Fuhry added that, after 30 days, Miralia can leave jail to go to work, but must return at night.

Miralia also got a three years' probation and his driver's license suspended for four years.

Fuhry said that texting while driving equals recklessness and that it was lucky this accident didn't result in a fatality.

Miralia struck and injured Linda Kupiec, of Bainbridge, while she was walking her dog in the Bainbrook subdivision, off state Route 306.

According to authorities, Miralia discovered damage to his Toyota minvan the morning after the accident and contacted police.

In court Friday, Kupiec said "He hit me and left me in a ditch to die." She said she's been struggling to return to the person she was before the accident.

"I want to think, walk and read right. ... I've been in prison," Kupiec said. "People think I'm stupid. I have two master's degrees. I can't do what I want to do."

Miralia said he was "deeply remorseful" and that, once he realized he hit someone, he went to the police department. He was described as a devoted family man who volunteers in the community.

Following the accident, Bainbridge police Det. Sgt. Andy Kelley said Miralia turned himself in to police May 6 and admitted that he was responding to a text message while he was driving and was distracted.

"His attention was directed at that and he wasn't paying attention," said Kelley.

Miralia said he didn't realize he had hit anyone.

Kupiec, a Kenston schools kindergarten teacher who lives on Rolling Brook Drive, was walking at about 8:45 p.m. that night with a flashlight at the time of the accident.

Neighbors found Kupiec lying in a ditch and she was taken by LifeFlight to MetroHealth Medical Center.

Both Kupiec and Miralia live in the Bainbrook subdivision. 


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