HAVERHILL (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – The teenage driver at the center of the state's precedent-setting deadly texting while driving trial took the stand Tuesday.
Prosecutors tried to use cellular phone records to prove that 18-year-old Aaron Deveau was texting in his car, which is a violation of his junior operator's license. However, the defense claimed that prosecutors cannot prove Deveau was holding a phone in his hands at the moment of the crash.
Deveau still admitted he was distracted in the moments before he swerved into the oncoming lane of traffic in Haverhill last February. His distraction proved to be deadly, as Deveau slammed into another car head-on. The other driver, 55-year-old Donald Bowley died 18 days later in the hospital. Bowley's girlfriend, who was in the car at the time, was left with long-term injuries.
While on the stand, Deveau told his defense attorney he did not touch his phone from the moment he put his key into the ignition until after the accident when he called his parents.
Deveau also told Assistant District Attorney Ashlee Logan that he was distracted because he had just gotten out of work and had a lot of homework due on Monday. Prosecution pointed out that Deveau did not tell police that he was distracted for these reasons when he gave a statement at the scene.
The prosecution then showed Deveau his phone records. They claim Deveau was texting someone between 2:33 and 2:34. He then received a text at 2:35, which is said to be the same time as the crash.
Deveau says the car in front of him braked, causing him to swerve. A witness for the defense said on Monday that Deveau's lack of driving experience could have led to his first impulse to swerve when the car in front of him braked.
The jury will continue deliberations on Wednesday. Deveau faces up to four and a half years in prison if found guilty.