Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.
But are they legally culpable if they do? A pair of arrest in Connecticut suggests that may be the case.
Jane Modlesky, age seventeen, was killed when she drove into a tree while the teen was under the influence of alcohol.
She was driving alone, but earlier, she had been in the company of four other teens. Two of them are being charged with reckless endangerment, for leaving her to drive when they knew she was drunk.
Speaking for the Glastonbury police, AgentJames Kennedy told CNN that the other two teens knew Jane was intoxicated and that they allowed her to drive, despite knowing she should not.
The results of this case could have chilling effects on future cases. Can a teenager be held responsible for another teenager’s choice to drive?
To what extent can any person be held responsible for the choices of another person for whom they are not a guardian?
It’s not uncommon for bartenders or party hosts to require drinkers to turn over their keys, both to protect the imbiber, and to protect the server or host against litigation, but should the same level of responsibility be placed on teenagers for their friends in a public space?
The death of this child is a tragedy, without question. Perhaps her friends could have prevented it. Perhaps not. Perhaps they had a moral obligation to try to prevent their friend from driving. The question is, though, did they have a legal obligation?