Woman charged with causing fatal crash while on phone in Washington Township

Courtney Ellise Niezgoda 

A 27-year-old woman has been arraigned in a fatal car crash in Washington Township that took place in February.

Courtney Ellise Niezgoda allegedly ran a red light while using her phone, killing a 63-year-old woman on M-53 and 32 Mile Road on Feb. 12.

Niezgoda, from Riley Township. crashed her Ford EcoSport into another vehicle, killing Tina Yaney of Macomb Township.

Niezgoda was charged with reckless driving causing death, a 15-year felony.  She was arraigned in 42-1 Romeo District Court where the judge set bond at $50,000 cash/surety, 10 percent with bond conditions of no social media use of any kind, no alcohol or drugs with testing, no driving for any reason and she must maintain employment.

The sheriff's office said the at-fault driver admitted to holding her phone while using its GPS at the time of the crash.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for June 24.

"The alleged reckless behavior of using social media while driving, led to a tragic and entirely preventable loss of life. These alleged actions demonstrate a complete disregard for the safety of others, and she must be held accountable for the devastating consequences of her choices," said Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido.

Victim Tina Yaney

Victim Tina Yaney 

Yaney had to be extricated from the vehicle. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died. Niezgoda was also hurt, and was hospitalized for two days.

"This tragedy could have been prevented had the suspect not been engaged in activity on her phone," said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. "Once again, I encourage everyone to please put your phone down while driving. Focus on the road. Follow the law and remain hands free while driving."