Texting teen once shown leniency now headed to prison

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PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A 17-year-old Kansas City area girl was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for killing someone due to texting while driving.

On Wednesday, a Platte County judge sentenced Rachel Gannon on the involuntary manslaughter conviction after the teen repeatedly violated conditions of her probation.

Last year, Gannon killed 72-year-old Loretta Larimer when she collided head-on with Larimer’s car.

Gannon received shock time in jail and probation as a second chance, instead of of up to four years in prison.

After that, Gannon was caught hosting a party where alcohol was served while her parents were away from home. She was then sentenced to spend one year in jail, but allowed out to go to school every day.

She failed to attend after-school tutoring sessions, and cut classes to go to Dairy Queen instead of heading directly back to jail after school.

Rebecca Tweedel, Gannon’s mother, pleaded with a judge for leniency. She said that her daughter made stupid mistakes but is turning her life around.

“Rachel has recently even told me that she’s actually glad that this kind of happened, as far as jail time, because she started taking things more seriously,” Tweedel said. “She’s always been remorseful, but just, the not taking things seriously and doing stupid kids stuff.”

Prosecutors and Larimer’s family said they hope she will take the punishment seriously this time and turn her life around.

Lawyers involved in the case said if Gannon doesn’t make any more mistakes, she could be eligible for parole after about six months in prison.

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