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State v. Belleville

New Hampshire Supreme Court
88 A.3d 918 (2014)


Facts

Chad Belleville (defendant) admitted he was checking a text message when he drove across the median turning lane into oncoming traffic and hit the Flanderses’ car, seriously injuring their son. When police questioned him at the scene, Belleville denied making texts or calls immediately before the accident and showed them his phone. According to the officer at the scene, when asked why the phone showed no call history before the accident, Belleville told the officer he “erased the history or something.” No evidence showed that Belleville braked or otherwise tried to avoid the accident. When police questioned Belleville again eight months later, Belleville admitted he had looked down to check a text message and never even saw the oncoming cars before he crashed. Phone records showed that Belleville made and received calls and at least two text messages shortly before the accident, consistent with his admission that he was checking a text at the time. The court convicted Belleville of second-degree assault, which required proof that he “recklessly cause[d] serious bodily injury” under the state criminal code. Belleville appealed, arguing the state did not present sufficient evidence of recklessness.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conboy, J.)

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