Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Teen racer loses license



By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - A Butler County teen is paying a hefty price for a high-speed illegal street race, but he's fortunate that his decision to race didn't cost him his life, a magistrate told him Monday.

"You're lucky that you're here today," said Juvenile Court Magistrate John Bruewer, reminding the 17-year-old Trenton boy about many recent high-speed crashes that have killed more than two dozen Greater Cincinnati teens this year.

Bruewer suspended the teen's driver's license for a year, fined him $100 plus $70.40 in court costs and ordered him to attend a driver's safety program.

And there are repercussions outside the courtroom, as well.

He likely will have to pay for high-risk insurance when and if he gets his license back, Bruewer said.

The teen's parents sold his newer-model pickup truck, made him pay his attorney's fees and have forbade him from driving since he received the June 18 citation for speeding, street racing and reckless operation.

An officer said the teen, who was then 16, was driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone on Hamilton-Lebanon Road near Yankee Road in Monroe.

Although the teen doubts he was going that fast, he admitted to all three charges Monday, said his lawyer, Elizabeth Yauch.

"I'm highly disappointed (in him)," the teen's father told Bruewer. The father said he had three discussions with his son about this year's rash of fatal crashes involving teens and urged him to drive responsibly.

Although Yauch said the teen has an A-minus average in high school, excels at sports and holds a good-paying job, Bruewer refused to grant her request that the teen have limited driving privileges to his job.

Bruewer said the teen could ask the court to reconsider his suspension after six months.

Rob Clevenger, court director, said he was glad to hear the Trenton teen's parents took the case so seriously. Some parents have resented a crackdown that began April 1 on teen traffic violators, he said.

"They say their kids are good kids - and it's 'only' speeding. They fail to connect the fact that one incident of speeding can result in their child's death - and the courts and police are trying to keep their child alive," Clevenger said.

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E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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