EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

November 22, 2011

Haverhill teens learn dangers of texting while driving

HAVERHILL — Texting can wait — but the warning against engaging in this practice while driving cannot.

Lives are at stake.

As Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett told Haverhill High School students yesterday morning, "You'll save a life," either by refraining from sending electronic messages while behind the wheel or urging friends to do likewise.

Blodgett and AT&T teamed up yesterday to bring the anti-texting-while-driving message to Haverhill High students. The program included a video about tragedies that resulted from young people who were distracted while they were driving — either because someone was texting them or they were sending a message to another person — and couldn't wait.

Indeed, Haverhill High students are feeling the effects of a texting-while-driving tragedy that happened to one of their own. Aaron Deveau, now a Haverhill High senior, was charged with motor vehicle homicide and texting while driving after the car he was operating allegedly crossed the center line Feb. 20 and struck another vehicle driven by Donald Bowley Jr. of Danville, N.H.

Bowley, 55, died March 10 at Massachusetts General Hospital from his injuries. A passenger, Luz Selena Roman, 58, of Haverhill, was seriously injured.

Deveau, 17, of 57 Beach St., is now incarcerated at Middleton jail following his arrest at the high school last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. His bail on the motor vehicle homicide charge, on which he's scheduled to be tried before a Haverhill District Court jury Feb. 21, was revoked.

In the video "It Can Wait," a Missouri state trooper talked about arriving at the scene of crash in which a girl who had been texting was killed.

"She was going to graduate the next day," the trooper said, noting that her cap and gown were in the car in which she was killed.

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