The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Rob Langrell
Publisher of The Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Continuance granted in case of teen accused of texting while driving


The Sidney teenager accused of texting while driving before he was involved in a fatal head-on collision in July appeared in Cheyenne County District Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Hayden Graham, 16, was represented by local attorney Tom Sontag, who requested a two-week continuance in the case. It was granted, and Graham will next return to court on Sept. 18 at 3:45 p.m.

Graham is charged with motor vehicle homicide, driving left of center, use of a handheld wireless communication device while driving and use of a handheld communication device in violation of a provisional operator’s permit, according to court documents.

He is accused of crossing the center line on Highway 30, about five miles east of Sidney, on July 31 and colliding with a car driven by 19-year-old Karman Reichman of Chappell. She died the following day.

Prior to the accident, Graham had attended the Cheyenne County fair with his younger brother and a friend. Afterward, Graham dropped his brother off at home and then took his friend, who lives in Chappell, to his residence. Graham was returning to Sidney when the crash took place.

Authorities said Graham admitted to texting on his drive back to Sidney, and said he couldn’t remember if he was doing so just before the crash.

Graham’s cell phone – an iPhone – was taken into evidence. Graham had last sent a text message at 11:31 p.m. on the night of the wreck and last received a message at 11:33 p.m., according to the incident report. The last message that Graham received had not been opened and read. Graham called 911 at 11:35 p.m.

He allegedly told law enforcement that he was knocked unconscious just after the wreck. When Graham regained consciousness, he retrieved his phone from his vehicle and called 911, according to the incident report.


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