UPDATE: On October 21, 2020 Lois Jarman appeared in Washington County District Court. She is facing several traffic charges stemming from the article below. At her first appearance in court Ms. Jarman requested a continuance in order to retain a lawyer. The request was granted and a new date will be set.
On November 9, 2019 around 1:44 pm Board of Education member Lois Jarman was using her cell phone while driving west on Shepherdstown Pike when she rear-ended another car. The impact forced that car into oncoming traffic injuring another family.
Ms. Jarman was appointed to the Frederick County Board of Education by County Executive Jan Gardner in January of 2019. Her appointment is up at the end of this year. She is currently a candidate for the Board of Education.
Oddly enough, one of her personal projects while on the board was a policy to have cell phones banned in school.
In an August 19, 2019 Frederick News Post article Ms. Jarman said the cell phone policy would require students to keep phones “off and away.” She also said, “If the cellphone I want to use is on my desk, then where is my focus?” “It’s a distraction. … It’s like putting crack in front of an addict.” Talk about irony.
I recently spoke with Mrs. Amy Waters Simmons, the mother of the first driver Ms. Jarman hit when she was using her phone. Her son Riley’s car was the one pushed into oncoming traffic. He sustained serious enough injuries he had to be air lifted from the scene to Shock Trauma where he stayed for two days. He was unconscious up until he was placed in the ambulance. Some of his more serious injuries were a bruised kidney, lacerated liver, and bruised ribs. He was out of work for three months because of the accident.
Mrs. Simmons was informed by officers there were “no skid marks” leading to her son’s car. Whatever Ms. Jarman was doing on her phone must have been particularly important, as evidence indicates she didn’t brake. The estimated speed of her vehicle at the time of impact was 65 mph. A deputy also informed Mrs. Simmons that Ms. Jarman admitted to “texting while she was driving”. This has since been confirmed.
The others effected by Ms. Jarman’s negligence were Gordon Scott Mills, Michelle Showe, and a minor boy. While Mr. Mills and the minor were injured as well, Ms. Showe was seriously injured. She remained in Shock Trauma for 5 months before moving to a rehab and then home. Her life has been forever changed due to Ms. Jarman’s carelessness.
I reached out to Ms. Showe for an update but she declined due to advice from legal council.
The National Safety Council has stated that people texting while they drive cause 1.6 million crashes each year. Almost 390,000 injures are caused by distracted drivers and one out of every four car accidents in the United States are caused by texting and driving.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has said that “texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.”
Those became more than just statistics for Mrs. Simmons, her son, and the other family in the fall of 2019, thanks to Lois Jarman.
Mrs. Simmons has read and watched some of Ms. Jarman’s statements after the incident. She told me “She looked so cool about the situation.” and added, “She had zero empathy.”
Ms. Jarman posted a picture on her Facebook page recently of a person holding a sign, on the sign were written statements such as “what if my son went out for skittles and didn’t return” and “with his last dying breath called out my name.” After Mrs. Simmons saw that post she thought “I understand people making mistakes, but to show no empathy for yours while condemning other people is ridiculous!”
While on Ms. Jarman’s Facebook, Mrs. Simmons also found other videos on her page of her driving while using her cell phone to take videos. Luckily, those didn’t result in other people getting hurt. When I checked her Facebook recently, those videos were no longer there.
Mrs. Simmons said one good thing to come out of the pain and suffering caused by Ms. Jarman’s negligence was the community’s out pouring of concern. It was “over whelming” and so many people have been more then helpful.
While the FNP and other media outlets have spoken with Ms. Jarman, only The Tentacle has reached out to Mrs. Simmons or the other family involved for comments or to follow-up on how they are doing.
Mrs. Simmons hopes that something good can come out of this. She is looking into starting a Distracted Driver program for students in Washington County.
During our conversation Mrs. Simmons told me that after speaking with the States Attorney in Washington County, this case was moved up to October 21, 2020. This will only be the second case of this type to be tried in Washington county.
Frederick County has the ability to adjudicate Ms. Jarman’s fitness for the Board of Education on November 3, 2020.
Editor’s Note: Originally published on September 21, 2020.
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