Teen killed by distracted driver was wearing seat belt

ST. CROIX COUNTY, Wis. - A 'black box' removed from her SUV now shows that a Wisconsin teen killed while trying to avoid a distracted driver actually was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Kyra Hayes of Beldenville died on October 21 after swerving to avoid a vehicle that had crossed the centerline of Wisconsin State Highway 35 near the town of Troy. The 16-year-old 's 2004 Oldsmobile Bravada rolled several times, ejecting her.

Witnesses told investigators the 21-year-old Big Lake woman driving Ford Taurus that crossed the center line had both hands on her phone instead of the steering wheel. 

That woman also had a suspended drivers license at the time of Hayes' fatal crash. 

Initial reports said the teen was not wearing her seatbelt, as investigators on the scene noticed the belt in the SUV was retracted. But data recovered from the Engine Control Module (ECM), or black box of the Bravada indicated that Hayes was indeed buckled in. An autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner also revealed injuries consistent with wearing a seatbelt. 

The St. Croix County Sheriff sent out a press release announcing the finding Friday afternoon, and saying that the accident report has been amended. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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