Teen driver charged in juvi court
The Ninth District Attorney’s Office has filed juvenile charges against the 16-year-old driver in a wreck that seriously injured one of her teen passengers and sent her and three other teen passengers to the hospital with minor injuries Sept. 15.
Her charges included vehicular assault, which would be a class 5 felony if she was being charged as an adult, as well as reckless endangerment, normally a misdemeanor, reckless driving, normally a traffic misdemeanor, and driving with passengers under 21, a traffic infraction.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Hershey said in juvenile court Wednesday that Glenwood Springs police are still investigating the case.
Police believe the wreck to be the result of a sudden, uncontrolled turn.
A Glenwood Springs High School sophomore student and football player Victor Gamez, was the most seriously injured, undergoing surgery on a fractured left eye and cheek at a Denver hospital the day after the wreck. The driver and three other teens also were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The charges could result in the revocation of the teen’s license.
The reckless driving charge alone carries more points against a license than a new driver is allowed. Hershey said the vehicular assault charge would automatically revoke her license if she pleas to it.
Hershey highlighted the importance the minor driving with passengers under 21 charge, saying it’s an important charge because teenagers without an adult in the vehicle need to be focused on driving rather than the distraction of friends in the vehicle.
For the first six months, newly licensed 16-year-old drivers are not allowed to have passengers in the vehicle who are under 21, unless that person is family, or if a licensed adult is in the vehicle. That typically covers new drivers who are driving a brother or sister to and from school, he said.
Hershey said he believes the teen still has a valid driver’s license.
Theoretically, she could face two years in the division of youth corrections, the maximum punishment for almost any juvenile case, but that seems very unlikely since this is a first offense, Hershey said.
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