By Tiana L
Aaron Deveau, 18, was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison and loss of his license for 15 years for causing a fatal crash by texting while driving.
Deveau, a Massachusetts teen, was convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting – the first driver in Massachusetts to face such charges, the Boston Globe reported. Prosecutors said Deveau, who pleaded not guilty, was texting on Feb. 20, 2011, when his vehicle swerved across the center line of a Haverhill, Mass., street and crashed head on into Daniel Bowley’s truck, killing the 55-year-old New Hampshire father of three.
Bowley’s sister, Donna Burleigh, said her brother suffered severe head trauma and lingered in a Boston hospital for 18 days before dying.
Before imposing the maximum sentence on Deveau, District Court Judge Stephen Abany said he was sending a message of deterrence to Massachusetts drivers.
Deterrence “really seems to come to play in this case,’’ Abany said, according to the Globe report. “People really want to be safe on the highways.’’ People need to “keep their eyes on the road, keep their eyes on the road.’’
David Teater, senior director of transportation initiative at the National Safety Council, agreed with the ruling and said he believes it’s important to take a hardline approach on cases of texting while driving.
“People can violate these laws and there really isn’t much of a deterrence without examples like this,” Teater told msnbc.com. “Clearly, being distracted is an extremely deadly thing that’s going on in this country and people need to understand they just can’t do it.”
Deveau, who was 17 at the time of the crash, was initially charged with motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, using a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle, reading or sending an electronic message, a marked lanes violation and two counts of negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use.
[usnews.msnbc.msn.com contributed to this report]