MARCH 19, 2014- Tyler Festa was found not guilty on all counts in the 2011 car accident that took the life of a 13-year-old and injured another teen.
After deliberating for a little more than 30 minutes, a jury acquitted 21 year-old Festa of all charges including homicide by motor vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.
During closing arguments, defense attorney Peter Sala stressed that the fatal accident on Route 97 that took Ashley Clark's life and injured Taz Gianelli was “An accident, a tragic accident.”
Sala told jurors what happened “doesn't rise to a level of a criminal act."
Sala stressed that only the amber lights were visible on the school bus, and they had not yet turned red when Festa hit the school children.
He illustrated that the children crossed the street too early.
The prosecution fired back… District Attorney Jack Daneri stressed that Festa knew he needed to stop for the children...
He said, "Yellow flashing lights on a week day are a quintessential sign there's a school bus and children ahead..."
Daneri told the jurors that Festa acted with criminal recklessness because he did not proceed with caution when he spotted the yellow lights.
Both attorneys say this was a devastating case for all parties involved.
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