KIMBERLY - Dave Weiss says the months since his brother Jim's death have been tough. Especially tough because it's taken nearly six months for charges to the brought against the woman who allegedly struck and killed him.
"On one hand, we've been really frustrated and a bit disgusted, honestly, that it has taken so long for it to happen," said Weiss in a phone interview with FOX 11.
In the early morning hours of July 28, 46-year-old Jim Weiss was riding his bicycle, eastbound on Kimberly Avenue. Police say that's when 19-year-old PaKou Xiong hit him with her car from behind.
Weiss died of his injuries nine days later.
"So, we got to see him before he went to surgery, and yes, it's fresh in my mind," said Jim Weiss' mother Mary Weiss in a phone interview with FOX 11.
But the case isn't fresh.
It took five months and 23 days for the Outagamie County District Attorney to charge Xiong with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, a Class G felony.
It's believed Xiong was texting when she struck Weiss.
Crash reconstruction specialists say Weiss was close to the curb and there were no signs Xiong's vehicle made an attempt to stop. Weiss' bicycle did have lights and reflectors on it.
"On the other hand, we do understand that they were doing the best job they could do," said Dave Weiss of the work the district attorney and police had to undertake in the case.
Dave Weiss says his easy-going, laid-back brother touched many people's lives. Now, he hopes Jim's death will send a message.
"Not necessarily to be vindictive, for my brother, but to make sure people – other people – understand (texting while driving is) not a joke."
Neither the district attorney's office nor the Fox Valley Metro Police Department would comment on the case.
So what does the law have to say?
Well, it's illegal to send or compose texts or emails while driving in the state of Wisconsin. You could be fined up to $400, if caught.
According to the federal government, in 2010, nearly 4,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers; and that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in some sort of unsafe event.
Xiong's initial appearance in Outagamie County court is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
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