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State's First Vehicle Homicide-While-Texting Trial Opens

This article is more than 7 years old.

According to prosecutors, it's the state's first trial on a charge of motor vehicle homicide under a new law that made it a crime to drive and text at the same time.

In Haverhill District Court Tuesday, the trial of defendant Aaron Deveau, 18, is set to begin.

The Associated Press provides the background:

Authorities say the then-17-year-old Deveau was texting when he crossed the center line of a Haverhill street on Feb. 20, 2011 and crashed head-on a vehicle driven by 55-year-old Donald Bowley of Danville, N.H.

Bowley died 18 days later in the hospital.

Deveau has pleaded not guilty to the motor vehicle homicide charge, and he told police he swerved to avoid a vehicle driving in front of him.

In its report on the trial on Sunday, the Boston Herald found that texting-while-driving citations this year are on track to more than double over last year's figure. In 2011, the Herald found, Massachusetts police cited 1,147 drivers for texting.

But, said the crash victim's sister-in-law, Cindy Bowley, to the Herald: "I see [texting while driving] all the time. It’s not going to stop until it happens to them and they say, ‘I should have learned my lesson.’ But by then it’s too late."

This post has been updated to clarify the nature of the charge.

This program aired on May 29, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.

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