By JEANNE STARMACK
A woman driver who ran over and killed a man two years ago while texting starts serving 45 days in the Mahoning County jail today.
Visiting Judge Barbara Watson of Struthers Municipal Court sentenced Whitney Yaeger, 22, of Springfield Township to 180 days in jail, suspending 135 of them. She was to report to the jail at 9 a.m.
Yaeger also was sentenced to three years of probation when she gets out of jail, and she must get mental health counseling.
She also must pay a $900 fine.
Her driver’s license is suspended for three years, but the court could grant limited driving privileges.
She also must perform 200 hours of community service — speaking to teenagers about the danger of distracted driving.
Yaeger killed David Muslovski, 55, of Springfield Township as he was out for a walk at 5:30 a.m. June 17, 2010. She pleaded “no contest” in December to vehicular homicide.
Muslovski was the founder of a Campbell business called Iron City Wood Products, which rehabs and sells wooden pallets.
Muslovski’s family, particularly his daughter Tina Yanssens, became outspoken activists against texting while driving in Ohio.
She and her mother, Denise Muslovski, were in Gov. John Kasich’s office June 1 when he signed a ban on texting while driving into law.
The Muslovski family also pushed to have Yaeger charged with felony vehicular homicide, but that did not happen. Yaeger was charged with a misdemeanor.
Yanssens, Denise Muslovski and David Muslovski’s twin brother, Dan, gave statements to Judge Watson before the sentencing.
Yaeger also gave a statement.
“He was a good man, a good son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, friend and businessman,” said Dan Muslovski.
“He was my twin, mentor, classmate, teammate and best friend,” he continued while crying.
“He worked hard for what he had. He was going to back off work and enjoy retirement with his wife, Denise.”
Yanssens told Yaeger a day didn’t go by that she hadn’t thought about what to say to her.
She said she does not believe Yaeger has accepted responsibility or has any remorse for Muslovski’s death.
“We pay the consequences every day while you have yet to pay any,” Yanssens told Yaeger. “You still have your license and drive around in the same car you ran over my father with.”
“I never got to give my dad his Father’s Day gift that year,” she continued.
Denise Muslovksi said Yaeger will never know the emotional pain she’s caused.
“I lie awake at night and envision what he must have seen — you driving toward him,” she said.
She said she never got to be with her husband that day.
“What was he thinking?” she said. “We’ll never know ‘cause I never got to see my husband alive that day. I never had a chance to tell him one last time how much I loved him.”
“He was everything to me,” she continued. “I’m forced to pick up the pieces alone, not easy after being a couple for almost 40 years.”
Yaeger sobbed throughout her statement.
“This is something I deal with every day, and none of these days has been easy,” she said. “I felt I could handle distracted driving but as we know, lives changed. I’m sorry.”
Yanssens said she would have rather seen Yaeger get more jail time. “But I think the community service is a good thing,” she said.