Teens Sentence Drunk Driver In Mock Trial - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/2/05-Longview

Teens Sentence Drunk Driver In Mock Trial

It's a real life drunk driving case, with deadly consequences. Some Longview teens took the case and became the jury Thursday. It was part of a mock trial during a summer alcohol awareness camp through the Longview police department.

In this real case, the 18 year old defendant had already been found guilty. The teens now have to decide if he will go to prison or get probation.

This mock trial began with a video introducing the victim, Jacqueline Saburido. 2 of Jackie's friends died instantly when Reggie Stephey hit their car. Jackie's legs were pinned under the dashboard. Trapped, Jackie begged for help but rescuers could not get her out for several minutes.

Thursday, an actor portrayed Jackie and another portrayed the 18 year old convicted of causing the accident. There was a defense attorney, a prosecutor and judge. The woman acting as the defendant's mother, told the jury Reggie Stephey had never been in trouble before. "Reggie has always been very responsible. He would work down at the Salvation Army, and do his community service, and he's always been in the National Honor Society at school.

Then each attorney tried to sway the jury with closing arguments. The defense arguing probation over prison time. The district attorney asked the jury to send a strong message to other teens.

"This isn't an accident. This is a criminal offense times three, two dead bodies and an assault," said district attorney Bill Jennings.

In the jury room, the debate began immediately. Some argued probation, others said Reggie should get more than 10 years in prison.

Finally the jury returned with a decision; 9 years in prison. As the student who played Reggie was led out of the courtroom, many of the teens seemed to realize that all too often the consequences can affect a multitude of lives. "I think something like this is really good for people to learn and to understand things like that and to help people to stop and realize what their actions can do," says Sarah Stuart.

Reggie Stephey was sentenced to 9 years at this mock trial. A real jury sentenced the 18 year old, to 7 years in prison.

After the trial, a victim of drunk driving spoke to the campers. She had lost both her parents, her 15 year old daughter and 5 year old son when a drunk driver crossed the center line and hit their car head on.

That testimony, as well as mock trial, was part of a special summer camp for students in grades 9 through 12. The camp concludes Friday.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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