Mother Killed in Crash Found with 2 Cell Phones in Lap

Melissa Houston, 40, died when her minivan slammed into the back of a tractor trailer

By Lauren Steussy
|  Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012  |  Updated 3:27 PM PDT
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A woman driving along SR 163 failed to stop in time and struck the back of a semi-truck. Battalion Chief Ben Castro talks about the scene when firefighters arrived with NBC 7's Steven Luke.

A woman driving along SR 163 failed to stop in time and struck the back of a semi-truck. Battalion Chief Ben Castro talks about the scene when firefighters arrived with NBC 7's Steven Luke.

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Emergency crews found two cell phones in the lap of a mother of two who died when her minivan crashed into the back of a semi-truck last month.

An autopsy report stated that Melissa Houston, 40, was traveling at about 80 miles per hour when she struck a tractor trailer driving in front of her near the Mesa College Drive exit on northbound SR 163 around 11 p.m. on May 17.

Houston was crushed beneath her minivan's dashboard when fire personnel arrived. She was pronounced dead on the scene due to obvious fatal trauma.

She was not wearing a seat belt and was found with one cell phone resting on her right thigh and a second cell phone resting between her legs, according to the autopsy report.

The California Highway Patrol has possession of the phones and is currently investigating them.

“The speed she was going and the fact that she hit the semi that was going at a slow rate of speed on the freeway did enough damage to her vehicle that it wasn’t really any chance that we could do any lifesaving measures on her,” said Battalion Chief Ben Castro with San Diego Fire Rescue in a previous article.

The news of Houston’s death spread quickly as her former Team in Training friends and supporters called each other the next morning with the news.

Via email, staff members informed each other of "a sad day for Team in Training." 

"Melissa was a coach, a mentor, a mother, a competitor, an advocate, a business woman and most of all, a dear friend. We will miss her dearly," the group posted.

Along with her work for Team in Training, Houston was also a former executive with Rubios.

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