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Mass. teen guilty on all counts in texting trial
Aaron Deveau is shown in Haverhill (Mass.) District Court Wednesday morning where a jury convicted him on charges connected to texting while driving. (TIM JEAN/POOL PHOTO)
Teen gets year in jail, loses license for 15 years for fatal texting crash
Jurors see interview in Mass. texting death trial
HAVERHILL, Mass. – A Haverhill teen will spend a year in jail and lose his license for 15 years after a jury found him guilty of texting while driving in a crash that led to the death of a Danville, N.H., man.
A jury in Haverhill District Court found Aaron Deveau, 18, guilty of motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation causing bodily injury due to electronic messaging.
It's the first time a driver in Massachusetts has faced trial under the state's law banning texting while driving adopted in 2010.
The crash on Feb. 20, 2011, in Haverhill left Donald Bowley Jr., 55, with critical injuries and Bowley's girlfriend, Luz Roman, 58, of Haverhill, with serious injuries. Bowley died 18 days later, and Roman survived.
Deveau appeared calm and showed little emotion as he apologized to Bowley's family.
“I want to apologize to the family,” he said. “I made a mistake. If I could take back I would take it back.”
Jurors reached their verdict after deliberating for only a few hours on Tuesday and another hour Wednesday morning.
“The basic lesson in this case is for people to keep their eyes on the road,” Judge Stephen Abany said as Deveau was sentenced in an emotionally-charged courtroom around 10:30 a.m.
Deveau was sentenced to 2 ½ years in jail on the motor vehicle homicide charge, but will serve only one year with the rest suspended for five years. He was sentenced to another two years for the negligent operation charges related to texting while driving, but will serve one year with the rest suspended for five years. That time will be served concurrently with the first charge, meaning he will serve a total of one year in jail.
He was also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service in a rehabilitation hospital for each of the first three years of his probation.
“I want that as a reminder so you can see the devastating effect that one quick foolish action caused,” Abany told Deveau.
He will also lose his license for 15 years. If he violates probation he'll return to jail.
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