A Colchester teen accused of hitting a pedestrian while texting behind the wheel pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Emma Vieira, 18, is accused of hitting Deborah Drewniak, 52, who was walking her dog on River Road in Colchester. Drewniak remains in critical condition at Fletcher Allen. Vieira is facing charges of gross negligent operation.
"Unfortunately it takes these types of tragic cases to highlight the danger of something like texting while driving or talking on a cellphone while driving, and really that momentary lapse of... distraction has tragic consequences," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.
Vieira was released on conditions. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. She was charged under existing statutes and not the state's new texting while driving law.