A teenage girl from Butler County was in the midst of sending a text message when she died Tuesday night in a one-vehicle accident, state police said.
Alexis Lynn Summers, 17, of Saxonburg, was killed when the 2003 Subaru Legacy she was driving hit a tree after 10 p.m. off Hannastown Road in Jefferson, Butler County.
Her vehicle veered to the right berm of the roadway and onto a slight grass embankment, police said. Ms. Summers then apparently overcompensated while steering back onto the road. Her car spun around and hit the tree. The Butler County deputy coroner pronounced her dead at the scene.
"She was actively texting at the time of impact," said Lt. Eric Hermick of the Butler barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Ms. Summers was wearing a seatbelt.
Crash site investigators said they found a cell phone at the scene, with a text message partially sent, Lt. Hermick said. He declined to release information about the message or the intended recipient, citing confidentiality laws.
Ms. Summers, a senior at Knoch High School in Saxonburg, died just hours after the state Senate gave final approval to a ban on texting while driving.
Police frequently receive calls about distracted drivers, including those texting while driving, Lt. Hermick said. He said he hopes the proposed state texting ban, a primary offense, will be a preventative measure.
"We hope it's a bigger deterrent, because it will educate the motoring public that they can't text while driving," he said.