Broadview teen, John Tyler Wright, was sentenced to three years probation after he pled guilty Friday in Franklin County Circuit Court to reckless vehicular homicide.
Reckless vehicular homicide is a Class C felony that carries a three-to-six year sentence.
According to information presented in court, it was texting and driving that caused the September collision on Sharp Springs Road that claimed the life of a 62-year-old Belvidere man, Thaddeus Hightower.
Following an investigation conducted by Winchester Detective Kelly Gass, a juvenile delinquent petition was initially issued on the driver, Wright, 17, for vehicular homicide.
Wright was scheduled to appear in Franklin County Juvenile Court on Oct. 16, but no hearing was held that day, and instead the case was continued. Judge Thomas Faris then transferred the case to “adult court.”
According to Assistant District Attorney Steve Blount, as a result of being transferred the case was presented to the Franklin County Grand Jury on Jan. 6. At that hearing, Wright was then indicted in Franklin County Circuit Court.
Though texting was believed to be the cause of this tragic accident, Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young said during its investigation that the contributing factors, which resulted in Wright colliding with Mr. Hightower’s pickup truck, were unclear.
“We do know that no alcohol or drugs were involved,” Young had said.
At that time the police chief also mentioned he’d heard several different accounts of the event but encouraged the public to disregard these “rumors.”
“There are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors circulating about the contributing factors and one of them is that texting while driving was involved,” Young said. “We are looking at all possibilities, and I cannot comment on this specific case.”
In addition to the three-years probation, Wright will serve 100 hours of public service. As part of his public service, he will be required to give talks on distracted driving.