Accidents versus Crashes

June 11, 2012

Last Wednesday Aaron Deveau was sentenced to two and a half years on a vehicular homicide charge and two and a half years on a texting and causing injury charge after being found guilty of the two charges in what’s being referred to as a landmark case for Massachusetts.  Aaron will serve one year on both charges concurrently (at the same time) and the balance of both charges is suspended for five years.  In addition his driver’s license will be suspended for 15 years.

In 2011 Aaron caused an accident when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line and struck another vehicle - a fact he does not dispute.  The accident killed Donald Bowley age 55 and left Bowley’s girlfriend Luz Roman seriously wounded with injuries that still affect her today.

CNN reported that the Deveau contends he was not texting and driving, that he was tired and distracted.   Prosecutors suggest that he erased messages after the wreck to hide the fact that he was indeed texting.  

There is no question that Aaron Deveau was at fault for causing the accident that claimed one life and left another physically, emotionally and mentally battered.  The question is why did he cross that center line?  Did the state prove that he was texting?  Were phone records introduced?  Is there a way to concretely determine that a person was distracted due to texting at the time of an accident without admission?  The fact that the state suggests that he may have erased messages leads me to believe there’s room for doubt.  

I am not suggesting that it is okay to text and drive.  I am wondering, however, if perhaps law enforcement, coupled with the district attorney’s office, saw an opportunity to turn this case into something that it wasn’t. 

If this was a case of overreaching by the Prosecutor, then a young man's life has been forever altered for a mistake.  Accidents used to be called accidents and were left to civil courts.  Nowadays, however, accidents are no longer called accidents, but are now called "crashes."  This implies that someone did something wrong.  If someone did something wrong, then the government can step in and collect fines and fees for as long as they are under government supervision.  It's a cash cow.  And, it's a sad day for our freedoms.