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After New Jersey driver pleads guilty in crash, girlfriend who texted him could be held liable

A New Jersey woman who texted her boyfriend right before he got into a car crash could be held liable, as a judge prepares to rule Friday whether to allow her to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by a couple injured in the crash.

David and Linda Kubert of Dover each lost a leg when Kyle Best, 18 at the time, hit their motorcycle head-on with his pickup truck in 2009 in Montville. The Kuberts' lawyer added Best’s girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, to the their existing civil lawsuit against Best, accusing her of contributing to her boyfriend's negligence in the accident, despite not being with him in the car, the Morristown Daily Record reports.

Best, a resident of Wharton, admitted he glanced down at his phone to see who was trying to reach him before his truck struck the motorcycle.

The newspaper reports that Best pleaded guilty earlier this year to using a cellphone while driving and other municipal court charges.

"What I saw was a gentlemen in the truck steering with his elbows, with his head down. And I could tell he was text messaging," David Kubert told CBS News. "I looked down after the impact and my leg was torn off. I asked my wife is she was OK, and she told me the bones of her leg were through her pants."

The Daily Record cited court records that show Best and Colonna exchanged more than two dozen texts on the day of the crash, including right before it happened.

"If we get this out to the public, and hopefully we are, maybe somebody won't end up like us. Or worse," Kubert added.

The Kuberts' lawyer, Stephen Weinstein, told the Daily Record that Colonna, 19 at the time of the crash, should be held liable because she was "electronically present" by way of her texts.

But Colonna’s lawyer, Joseph McGlone, said the accusation is unfair and unreasonable.

"Shannon Colonna has no way to control when Kyle Best is going to read that message," he said.

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