Friends of Drunk Teen Driver Arrested After Fatal Crash

DUI, Crime, News

Five months after their friend was killed in a crash in Glastonbury, Conn., police have arrested three 17-year-old boys who are accused of letting her drive drunk.

The boys allegedly knew Elisabeth Jane Modlesky, 17, was “highly intoxicated” when she got behind the wheel of an SUV in July — alone in the car — and hit a tree. The SUV, a 2008 Honda Pilot, belonged to the parents of one of Modlesky’s friends, police said, and she had been in the car with four 16-year-old boys prior to the crash. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teenage boy who was initially driving dropped a friend off at a Glastonbury home, police said, then drove to his own house and got out. Another 16-year boy got behind the wheel and drove to his own house, where he and another teen got out of the car, police said. Police said the last two teens in the car with Modlesky were well aware that she was “highly intoxicated,” but allowed her to drive anyway. Modlesky then got behind the wheel and was killed when she struck a tree half-a-mile away. Police determined that Modlesky’s blood alcohol content was .27, which was more than 13 times the legal limit of .02 for someone under the age of 21.

The first teen to drive the car was charged with violation of passenger restrictions and operating a motor vehicle between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.; the boy he dropped off was not charged. The second teen to drive was charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree, violation of passenger restrictions and operating a motor vehicle between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The other teen was charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree.

In August, police charged a 17-year-old girl who they said threw a party hours before the crash and served alcohol to minors. She was charged with was charged with two counts of allowing minors to possess alcohol.

When You Let a Friend Drive Drunk

If your driving friend gets pulled over for a DUI, and is found to be over the legal blood-alcohol content limit, the police officer will then assess your level of intoxication as the passenger. If found sober, you may be asked why you hadn’t taken the wheel once it became clear that your friend was unable to drive properly. One argument may involve being able to prove that you’re not currently licensed to drive, don’t know how to drive, or have a medical condition or legal restriction that prevents you from driving at certain times of day or in certain situations.

If you can’t offer a convincing defense as to why you weren’t driving, you may be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, depending on your state. Your arresting officer may argue that you put yourself, the driver and members of the public in danger by allowing your friend to drive drunk. You’ll have several options for getting home; if you’re licensed to drive, you may be given permission to drive your friend’s vehicle home for the night. In other cases, you may be allowed to ride in the tow truck that brings the vehicle to the impound lot and then transported to your residence by a police officer. In rare cases, you may be escorted home in the back of the second police car at the scene.

You’ll face a different set of consequences for failing a field sobriety test or blowing above the legal blood-alcohol limit. In this case, most arresting officers will ask you to call a sober friend or taxi company to drive you home from the scene of the accident. If you can’t get in touch with a suitable driver, you may be arrested for public intoxication and forced to spend the night in jail.