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16-Year Old Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter

Posted on July 5, 2012

Result of a serious automobile accident

Result of a serious automobile accident (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many misfortunate accidents that occur in freeways. Most of these spring out of nowhere and are out of our control. No one likes an accident, and no one expects to get into an accident when they are safe drivers. Passengers of a vehicle leave their safety up to the driver; and if the driver is a friend, these car occupants put their trust in the driver. Sadly, a driver can still be reckless with an automobile despite who is in the car—friend or not.

A minor has pleaded guilty to a crash that killed two of his passengers. Zach Bishop, a 16-year old from San Diego, was racing another vehicle on a freeway when the car crashed. The accident killed two of his teenage passengers and critically hospitalized two. Bishop received moderate injuries. In a Juvenile Court on Monday, July 2, Bishop pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter resulting in death.

Bishop could be facing a maximum of seven years and four months in prison. His trial and sentencing will be done by Judge Browder Willis on Monday, July 16.

The accident had happened on Wednesday, April 4. Bishop was racing 18-year old Michael S. Johnson on the Route 52 eastbound highway. Witnesses say that the two vehicles were going about 100 mph before the crash. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office was able to identify the two victims as 18-year old Anthony Foreman and 16-year old Jayli James Campbell. The other passengers in Bishop’s vehicle included an unnamed 17-year old and 15-year old Charlotte McQuillen who is Bishop’s girlfriend. McQuillen and the 17-year old victim were taken to the hospital for critical injuries. McQuillen was in a comma for five days.

Bishop was driving a Volkswagen Pasat and Johnson was racing a Volvo S40. No one in the Volvo received any personal injury. It was confirmed that Bishop had not been under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Johnson was arrested in suspicion that he was driving under the influence of marijuana. A small amount of marijuana was found in Johnson’s Volvo. He was released a few days after his arrest on a $50,000 bail.

Bishop was kept in medical isolation after the incident to allow him time to think about the consequences of his actions. Prosecutors were recommending that Bishop be charged as an adult. The 16-year old had a previous driving record of speeding at 90 mph earlier in the year in February.

The negligent driving which Bishop committed resulted in catastrophic wrongful deaths and personal injuries. As the driver of a full car, he had a responsibility to make sure his passengers were safe. Not only that, but Bishop was only 16 and was not yet permitted to have passengers. He had knowingly put his friends’ lives in danger and is paying the price for careless driving.

This accident is misfortunate. The families of the deceased victims must be distraught and tormented at the outcome of this crash. If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death, or if you yourself have received personal injury, call a San Diego car accident lawyer today and let justice do its work.

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