J'Boro Driver Charged in Fatal Wreck, Police Say He Was Texting

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A man Jonesboro police say was text messaging moments before he crashed his vehicle into another car, killing its driver, is charged with negligent homicide.

Police say 27-year-old Michael Blanchard was driving his SUV north on Arkansas 1 when he crossed the center line, slamming into a 97 Pontiac Grand Am (car), killing its driver, 41-year-old Paul Davidson.

Davidson was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Blanchard was drinking a beer and sending text messages on his cell phone when the accident happened. But Prosecuting Attorney Mike Walden says a blood test showed Blanchard was not legally intoxicated.

Blanchard could still face up to a year in county jail and fines of $1,000 for the class-A misdemeanor. Walden says Blanchard could have faced felony negligent homicide if his blood alcohol level had shown him as legally intoxicated.

A new bill named Paul's Law was filed with the State Legislature Wednesday. It would make illegal any cell phone usage while driving, except for emergencies.