CRIME

Judge Bans Rhode Island Teen From Driving For Life (VIDEO)

03/04/2012 09:46 pm ET | Updated Mar 05, 2012

A Rhode Island judge wanted to send a clear message to young people that he won't tolerate reckless driving.

According to ABC 7, 17-year-old Lyle Topa has been banned from driving in the state of Rhode Island for life, after he crashed into a tree last October.

Police said Topa was driving on a suspended license at the time. He and his three teenage passengers were drinking alcohol at a party before the accident. The teenagers were lucky to escape with their lives, but 16-year-old John LaMotte was in a coma for weeks, according to The Daily Mail.

The Westerly Sun reports that Chief Magistrate William Guglietta of the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal pored over photos of the wreckage before handing out the harshest penalty possible, noting that he hoped the "dramatic" sentence would deter other teens from being so careless.

"If you're going to drive dangerously in Rhode Island and you're a young person, this court is going respond accordingly," Guglietta told KABC. "The law in this case allows this court to impose that penalty. If they think that more stringent penalties are important for drunk driving, then I'm assuming at some point in time, those issues will be raised with the legislature."

The sentence was handed out after Topa pleaded no contest to speeding, violating seat belt laws, and overtaking where prohibited, while the judge agreed to drop several charges including graduated license violations of having too many passengers in the car and being out past the designated curfew, leaving the lane of travel and failure to maintain control of the vehicle, according to The Westerly Sun.

Suggest a correction
3,002 Comments

CONVERSATIONS