Texting driver faces up to 7 years in fatal hit-and-run

HEILWOOD, Pa. (AP) — A 19-year-old driver who police say was texting when he hit a woman walking along a rural western Pennsylvania highway faces up to seven years in prison.

Nicholas Patterson, who is now 20, pleaded guilty Monday to homicide by vehicle and texting while driving before an Indiana County judge.

The Clymer man will be sentenced June 6 in the death of 45-year-old Leslie Bennett, who is also from Clymer.

Police say she was walking along Route 553 in Cherryhill Township when she was hit from behind by Patterson’s vehicle Sept. 6 about 10:45 p.m. Her daughter was also walking but wasn’t hurt.

Police say Patterson’s attorney told them the teen was driving his father’s pickup and kept driving because he thought he hit a deer.

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