The car accident occurred on February 20, 2011 on River Street in Haverhill. Aaron Deveau, then seventeen, crossed the centerline and smashed head-on into Donald Bowley’s car, carrying him and Luz Roman, the sole passenger. Luz Roman, Bowley’s girlfriend, suffered from collapsed lungs, broke all of her ribs and her pelvis and leg were fractured. Bowley unfortunately suffered massive injuries and did not survive; he died in the hospital on March 10, 2011.
The teen claims that he was not texting at the time of the accident, but that he sent and received four text messages in the minutes preceding the crash. Deveau is charged with violating the new Massachusetts state law that makes it a crime when a driver injures someone during a crash while texting and driving. He is also charged with negligent motor vehicle homicide and the prosecutors and trying to persuade jurors that his texting while driving warrants a criminal conviction.
The Safe Driving Law Ch 90/8M(5) states, “Operators cannot use any mobile telephone or handheld device capable of accessing the Internet to write, send, or read an electronic message including text messages, emails, and instant messages or to access the Internet while operating a vehicle. Law applies even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic.”
Judge Stephen Abany presided over this case. The judge sentenced Deveau to concurrent sentences of two and a half years on a charge of motor vehicle homicide and two years for negligent operation of a motor vehicle causing serious injury while texting. Due to Deveau’s age and lack of a criminal record, Judge Abany ordered him to serve one year in the Essex County House of Corrections. Deveau’s license was also suspended for fifteen years in accordance with the Safe Driving Law.
Abany stated that criminal sentences are based on four principles: punishment, public safety, rehabilitation and deterrence. Deterrence was his primary concern in this case. He also stated, “People need to keep their eyes on the road, keep their eyes on the road.”
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.