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Texter found guilty of vehicular homicide

Massachusetts sets legal precedent by convicting a driver of vehicular homicide for causing a fatal distracted driving accident.

You may want to think twice about responding to a text the next time you're behind the wheel -- a Massachusetts court set a precedent by convicting a teenager of vehicular homicide for texting while driving.

Today a jury found Haverhill, Mass. resident Aaron Deveau, 18, guilty of vehicular homicide for a distracted driving accident he caused last year that took the life of Donald Bowley, according to CBS Boston. The car driven by the New Hampshire father of three was struck head-on by Deveau's vehicle when the young driver swerved across the center line.

Deveau, who was 17 at the time of the accident, denied that he was texting while driving, but cell phone records showed that he responded to text messages moments before the crash. The teen deleted incriminating text messages from his phones and then told police that he hadn't been texting, but rather was distracted by homework and job-related fatigue. The jury deliberated for only three hours before convicting Deveau.

District Court Judge Stephen Abany said he was sending a message to Massachusetts drivers by sentencing Deveau to the maximum two and a half years in prison for vehicular homicide and a concurrent two years for the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, reported This case sets a legal precedent for charging what is typically a traffic violation punished by a fine with a criminal offense. Most states have banned the practice of texting while driving or using handheld mobile devices behind the wheel, although several loopholes exist in each state.

(Via CBS Boston)