• Framingham mom calls for tougher distracted driving penalties 1 year after being hit


    More than one year after being run over by a distracted driver, a local woman is angry that the man who hit her is still behind the wheel. 

    On Aug. 10, 2016, Jillian Kaplan's life was turned upside down when she and her dog were struck in the crosswalk at the intersection of Cherry and Concord streets in Framingham. 

    "I had emergency brain surgery within 30 minutes of getting to the hospital. I had bleeding on the brain and they had to relieve the pressure. I shattered my pelvis, as well as my face," said Kaplan.

    According to the accident report obtained by Boston 25 News, the hearing-impaired driver took his hands off the wheel to use sign language with his passenger and did not see the woman in the crosswalk.

    "The thought of never being able to walk again really scared me," said Kaplan.

    Jillian's recovery took more than 14 weeks moving from the ICU to rehab and to her and her family's shock, months later she found out she was pregnant with baby Michelle.

    "I'm super super super lucky, but that doesn't change how bad it could have been," said Kaplan. 
    Boston 25 News is not naming the driver, but we've learned his only penalty for the accident was a written citation, which is frustrating to Jillian.

    "I'll hear a friend who got a citation of texting on a cell phone or something, but they didn't get into an accident. Maybe next time they will so I think the first warning needs to be more strict," said Kaplan. 

    Safe Roads Alliance President Emily Stein says the penalty for distracted driving needs to be as tough as they are for other offenses, like speeding and driving under the influence. 

    "I think our next battle is educating judges in what is an appropriate fine, or an appropriate action to take so drivers get it. Because our penalties are not strong enough," said Stein. 

    Massachusetts State Police still have an active investigation in the case. Investigators say more serious charges are possible. 

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