Parent of teen who caused fatal car crash sentenced

An unlicensed teen, vacationing in the Poconos last year, lost control of a Chevrolet Suburban and crashed. The Pennsylvania car accident claimed the lives of three 15-year-old boys from Bucks County and injured three other teens, including the 15-year-old driver. The owner of the vehicle, the driver’s father, told investigators his daughter did not have permission to take the vehicle.

Authorities later learned the father, now 54, lied to avoid responsibility for letting his daughter get behind the wheel. A judge recently held the father accountable for his actions by sentencing the defendant to a prison term of 6 ½ to 16 years. The man also must pay $73,000 in restitution for what a Wayne County judge said was the out-of-state defendant’s “irresponsible” and “selfish” behavior.

The defendant struck a deal with prosecutors, exchanging a guilty plea for reduced charges. The father was sentenced for three counts each of reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter.

The rollover crash occurred as the group of teens was returning from a Lake Wallenpaupack-area restaurant. The inexperienced driver lost control of the vehicle while speeding in a turn.

The daughter was charged with vehicular homicide in juvenile court. The teen, now 16, was ordered to pay restitution, perform 300 hours of community service and write an essay about the effects of the fatal crash. The girl also was placed on probation indefinitely.

The teen’s parents had been divorced since the girl was a toddler. Her father, known as “the fun parent,” made no effort to show up at his daughter’s court appearances. The girl has not communicated with her father since the accident.

Civil claims may be filed against parties responsible for a car accident victim’s injury or death. Defendants may include a driver, a vehicle owner and any other parties guilty of negligent or reckless behavior. Damage awards cover losses suffered by victims and surviving family members.

Source: The Morning Call, “NY man sentenced to jail for letting unlicensed teen daughter drive prior to fatal Poconos crash,” Jo Ciavaglia, Calkins Media, Aug. 20, 2015

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