HAVERHILL, Mass. — A Massachusetts teenager was convicted Wednesday of texting while driving and causing the death of another motorist.
It was the first case brought under a new state law that forbids texting while driving.
Aaron Deveau, 18, Haverhill, Mass., was sentenced to one year in jail for the death of the driver of a car that Deveau hit head-on in February of 2011.
A jury found Deveau guilty of motor vehicle homicide and negligent driving caused by the distraction of texting.
Judge Stephen Abany said he was sending a message in sentencing Deveau to one year in jail, suspending 1 1/2 years of the minimum 2 1/2 year sentence on the motor vehicle homicide charge.
Drivers, the judge said, "need to keep their eyes on the road" and not on their smart phones or other distracting devices. He said motorists expect to be safe on public roadways.
The judge also suspended Deveau's driver's license for 15 years, and sentenced him to 40 hours of community service.
Prosecutors told the jury Deveau sent or received 193 text messages on his smart phone the day of the crash, including two texts moments before his car crossed the center line of a local street and struck a vehicle driven by Daniel Bowley, Jr., 55, Danville, N.H.
Bowley died two weeks after the accident of injuries; his girlfriend, a passenger in the car, was seriously injured but survived.
Deveau told the court he "made a mistake. If I could take it back, I would take it back. I just want to apologize to the family."