Aaron Deveau, Mass. teen, sentenced to prison in texting-while-driving case

Aaron Deveau in court on June 5, 2012
Pool, Paul Bilodeau,AP Photo/Eagle Tribune
Aaron Deveau in court on June 5, 2012
Pool, Paul Bilodeau,AP Photo/Eagle Tribune

(CBS/AP) HAVERHILL, Mass. - Aaron Deveau, a Massachusetts teenager, has been sentenced to spend a year in jail for a fatal traffic accident that happened while he was texting.

Deveau, 18,  was sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars with a year to serve and the remainder suspended for the February 2011 crash that took the life of 55-year-old Donald Bowley Jr. of New Hampshire. Bowley's girlfriend was seriously injured.

Prosecutors say the then 17-year-old high school student sent 193 text messages the day of the crash, including some just a minute or so before impact and dozens more after it.

"My son did not intentionally go out to hurt anybody. He would never," said Deveau's mother, according to CBS Boston.

Asked about the conviction, the victim's daughter Dawn Bowley said justice was served "as much as it's gonna be."

On the stand Tuesday, CBS Boston reports that Deveau denied sending a text message while behind the wheel moments before the crash, while the prosecution asserted that they had phone records to prove a text was sent.

Instead, Deveau testified he was tired from his dish-washing job and was distracted while worrying about his homework.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours on Tuesday and less than an hour on Wednesday.

He was among the first people prosecuted under a law that went into effect in 2010 creating the criminal charge of texting while driving negligently and causing injury.

Deveau also lost his driver's license for 15 years and owes some restitution, with the amount to be determined at a later date, reports CBS Boston.

This is the first time in Massachusetts history that someone has been convicted of causing a fatal accident while texting behind the wheel.

Since the texting-while-driving law took effect on Sept. 30, 2010, more than 1,800 people have been cited, according to MassDOT.