Prosecution: Aaron Deveau deleted texts following crash

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May 29, 2012, 5:53 pm
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(NECN: Ally Donnelly, Haverhill, Mass.) -  A criminal case that could have a big impact on anyone who drives in Massachusetts has started.

A teenager is now on trial, accused of making a deadly decision.

Police say Aaron Deveau was texting when the car he was driving hit another driver who later died.

It’s a first-of-its kind case in the state.

"What do you remember?" asked Essex County prosecutor Ashlee Logan. She was questioning Luz Roman on the witness stand.

Though details are fuzzy, Roman will never forget how she felt the afternoon of February 20, 2011.

"Panic, panic," she said in broken English. " I saw headlights..."

The 58-year-old woman survived a horrific car crash on Route 110, River Street in Haverhill. Her boyfriend, 55-year-old Donald Bowley, did not.

"My brother received such severe head trauma that there was no hope for him," said his younger sister Donna Burleigh.

The father of three grown children was taken off life support 18 days after the accident.

It is the state's first case of motor vehicle homicide involving texting while driving after the state legislature banned texting behind the wheel in 2010.

Eighteen-year-old Aaron Deveau is charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligient operation and negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use. The Haverhill man has pleaded not guilty.

He was 17 when prosecutors say the Blue Chevy Malibu he was driving crossed the yellow line and slammed head on into the red Toyota Corrolla driven by Bowley.

The first officer on scene described what he saw when he got to the couple's car.

"They looked like they were sunken into vehicle -- like they were almost folded into floor boards, almost like they were hugging each other because there arms were like entangled," said Detective Thomas Howell.

Prosecutors say Deveau left work that afternoon and was driving down River Street receiving and sending texts in the moments before the crash. A prosecution witness who was driving in front of Deveau says he was upset and crying as he got out of his car.

"He said he was tired and didn't see them and had just gotten out of work," said Robin Murphy.

Prosecutors say Deveau admitted sending and receiving nearly 200 texts that day, but ADA Logan intimated the scared teen may have deleted texts after the accident.

"He states his last message was at 2:33 p.m. and he didn't get another one until 3:10 p.m., but then the records came and show there are two missing."

Deveau's lawyer warned the jury not to act on emotion, but facts, and to make sure any charges rise to the level of criminal. If convicted on both counts, Deveau faces more than four years in prison.

Tags: defense, massachusetts, court, Ally Donnelly, texting while driving, prosecution, Aaron Deveau, Donald Bowley, haverhill massachusetts, motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use, luz ramon, ashlee logan, route 110
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