A driver using a cell phone caused a wreck Wednesday that sent a man to the hospital with severe head injuries, police said.

Marcus W. Black, 32, was riding his motorcycle on U.S. Highway 27 when an unidentified driver on a cell phone suddenly switched lanes, causing traffic to come to a stop, police said.

Mr. Black's motorcycle slid out of control and struck a 2009 Saturn, police spokeswoman Lt. Kim Noorbergen said. He was taken to Erlanger hospital, she said.

As of Wednesday night, Mr. Black was in the intensive care unit, an Erlanger spokeswoman said.

The cell phone user apparently continued driving after creating several collisions, and it's unclear whether the driver was talking or texting on the phone, Lt. Noorbergen said. No charges will be filed in connection with Mr. Black's injuries, she said.

State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, groaned when he learned of Wednesday's wreck. He said he was proud of sponsoring a 2009 law that made text messaging while driving illegal in Tennessee, but he's afraid that cell phone technology will prevent an effective expansion of the law.

"It's going to be tough to enforce no matter what you do," he said.

The less visible the device, the more difficult to detect, he said, and hands-free phones and "whatever else is coming" from the wireless communication industry will not improve the situation.

Sen. Tracy encouraged drivers to make an effort to avoid anything that diverts concentration away from the steering wheel.

"Whether you're playing with the radio or talking to your girlfriend or eating or whatever -- your mind's on other things," he said. "You've got to concentrate, not run a red light or a stop sign."


In Tennessee, it is illegal to text message and drive at the same time. Violators could face a fine of $50 if caught sending or receiving text messages while driving. No law prohibits drivers from talking on their cell phones.

Source: Newspaper archives

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