Teenager Monica Knight Arraigned For Accident On Drugs And Texting
This story sucks. Monica Knight is on the brink of losing the rest of her life… just like her friends. Knight has since sent out some tweets… that… well:
Monica Knight sprinted with her father past waiting reporters outside Plymouth District Court following her arraignment Thursday morning.
The 17-year-old Halifax resident just completed her junior year at Silver Lake High School. Now she faces these charges stemming from the March 30 crash near the school on Lake Street in Kingston: reckless operation of a motor vehicle, a marked lanes violation, violation of a junior operator with a passenger-under-18 restriction, failure to wear a seatbelt and possession of a Class B substance, namely amphet salts. She was charged as an adult.
In addition to requiring that Knight wear a GPS ankle bracelet so her whereabouts can be monitored, District Court Judge Rosemary Minehan ordered that she submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and set a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
After the arraignment Kingston Police Chief Joseph Rebello said the investigation was still ongoing, and that additional charges could be filed. He said police filed charges now because they have a window in which to do so. He said a decision was made to delay charging Knight until after the end of the school year, which concluded June 15.
None of the four students in the red BMW Knight was driving were wearing seatbelts, Rebello said.
“I feel that that contributed greatly to their injuries. If they were held in place by their seatbelts, I think all four of them would have left there with minor injuries,” he said. “Unfortunately, this has occurred, it’s been a big strain on our community, and we needed to move forward with the charges that we filed.”
Rebello agreed with the judge’s order that Knight wear a GPS bracelet, saying he believes it’s an effective tracking tool that can be used for assessing compliance with a curfew.
Knight was driving classmates Eva Lipton, Aliza Nantais and Brendon McGilley to school when she crossed the center yellow line and crashed head-on into an oncoming school bus. Rebello said there has been speculation that Knight was texting, causing her to cross lanes, but that the police do not have evidence in subpoenaed cell phone records that Knight was texting at the time of the early morning crash.
Rebello said no one has told police that Knight was on the phone at the time either. Records show she had spoken with a friend for 34 seconds at 7:04 a.m. Emergency responders were called to the scene at 7:15 a.m. Police say it’s unclear the exact time the friends texted each other that morning, but that it was in the minutes surrounding the time of the crash.
Police obtained a search warrant and found prescription pills, small amounts of suspected marijuana residue and residue from synthetic cannabis called spice in the red BMW Knight was driving. Three of the pills, specifically amphet salts, were located in Knight’s change purse. Police also recovered three text messages on cell phones belonging to Knight, Nantais and Lipton that related to the use of drugs.
In his application for criminal complaint, Sgt. Timothy Ballinger wrote, “While scrolling through the phones I observed several references to illicit drug use on the three phones.”
Knight was not supposed to have passengers, with the exception of a relative, for the first six months after getting her license. She had had her license for four months. The Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended her license after police applied for an immediate threat complaint.
Rebello said he disagreed with defense attorney William McElligott, the public defender, who said Knight did not have drugs in her system at the time of the accident. Rebello said no one can say for sure without the results of toxicology tests that were conducted. Police are also waiting for the victims’ complete medical records. She will return to court Aug. 8 for a pretrial hearing.
Lipton’s parents, Ivan and Rebecca, were in court for the arraignment but did not speak to reporters. Their daughter is unresponsive. Both Lipton and Nantais suffered traumatic brain injury. Nantais is in a rehabilitation hospital. McGilley was able to return to Silver Lake for the last month of school. Knight also returned to school.
“It’s a tragedy, and it’s going to continue to be a tragedy,” Rebello said.
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