Photo by Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images.
A teen was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail for a fatal traffic accident that occurred while he was texting while driving, the first time anyone has been convicted under a 2010 Massachusetts law that bans sending texts from behind the wheel.
The Associated Press reports that 18-year-old Aaron Deveau received a 2 1/2 year sentence with one year to serve and the remainder suspended for the 2011 crash that took the life of 55-year-old Donald Bowley and seriously injured Bowley's girlfriend. Deveau also had his driving license suspended for 15 years. "We hope this sends a message that it’s not OK to text and drive," Bowley’s sister told the AP.
Prosecutors say that Deveau, then 17, was distracted by his cell phone at the time of the crash that killed the father of three. Deveau sent and received 193 texts on the day of the accident, including one just a moment before the collision, and dozens more in the aftermath.
Deveau, who pleaded not guilty, argued that the number of text messages he sent the day of the crash was irrelevant. He also claimed that the last message he sent was from the parking lot of a grocery store, and that at the time his vehicle crossed the center line, his phone was in the passenger seat and he was distracted thinking about homework, according to ABC News.
Massachusetts is one of 38 states where texting while driving is a crime.