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Underage DWI charge for fatal accident

While many Connecticut state and federal guidelines are in place to protect the rights of child victims and defendants, some may fail to address the unique circumstances surrounding individual cases. Similarly, there are instances where authorities interpret the law in a way that can unduly impact young defendants. One young man is facing criminal charges for his alleged involvement in the death of two people, while authorities may be using his age against him.

The 19-year-old defendant is accused of causing a car accident that took the life of an elderly man and his granddaughter in June, 2012. Law enforcement claim that the young driver veered into oncoming traffic and struck the victims' vehicle because he was texting instead of paying attention to the road. 

Authorities are also accusing the teenager of DUI because they found that he tested positive for a small amount of alcohol, even though it was within the legal threshold. However, law enforcement have not specified how slight the amount may have actually been.

The young man is being charged with vehicular homicide in addition to involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of the two accident victims. Authorities contend that there is evidence suggesting that the teenager was texting just before the incident occurred. Though, he argues that he had simply been distracted by a bird hitting his windshield, and wasn’t drinking or texting.

It is still too early to speculate on how this case may progress, but it is concerning that the young man’s age may influence the severity of the charges made against him. 

Source: New Jersey Herald, “Pa. teen charged with double fatal texting DUI,” June 25, 2013