Sandwich teenager charged with vehicular homicide

A Massachusetts teeanger was arraigned Thursday in connection with a fatal car accident in Barnstable on Nov. 30, 2012. He pleaded not guilty.

The Sandwich 17-year-old has been charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, failure to slow or stop at an intersection and failure to slow or stop at red light. He has been released on his own recognizance on the order that he not drive.

Authorities say the teenager blew through a red light on Route 132 near the Route 6 overpass and then collided with another vehicle, killing a 24-year-old Brewster man who was a passenger in the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old Chatham woman, had to be hospitalized after the car accident.

On Thursday, the teenager’s attorney told reporters after the hearing that no drugs or alcohol were involved and that his client had just made an awful mistake.

While it is good that no drugs or alcohol were involved (provided that what the teenager is claiming is true, of course), that does not necessarily let him off the hook. If he was traveling too fast or not paying attention and went through a red light, he may still bear some legal responsibility for the woman’s injuries and the man’s death.

Incidents like this are undeniably tragic, but that does not mean there is nothing that can be done about them. Our justice systems tries as hard as it can to make whole again people who have been harmed by car accidents and the like.

Source: Cap Cod Times, “Sandwich teenager charged in crash death pleads not guilty,” July 12, 2013