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A scene in an Enfield Superior Courtroom Tuesday again provided a sobering reminder that when cars and alcohol are involved a few moments of teenage recklessness can change lives forever and sometimes end them.
When Amanda Conway, then 18, and her two girlfriends took some swigs of vodka as they drove around on Aug. 25, 2010 they probably thought they were just having a rebellious good time and a few laughs. Conway was driving. She was going too fast to negotiate the sharp curve found on the entrance to Interstate 91 in Enfield. Her 1997 Jeep Cherokee bounded out of the lane, colliding with a tractor-trailer truck. Her blood alcohol level was 0.065, under the legal limit for someone 21 and over, but well above the 0.02 percent set for underage drinkers.
Her friend, Alexa Crosby, 17, died from the injuries sustained in the accident, Ann Bauchiero, then 19, smashed her face into the windshield, sustaining permanently disfiguring injuries. Conway had only minor physical injuries, but a psychiatrist testified at Tuesday's sentencing that she is tormented and suffers with acute post traumatic stress disorder.
And now she is headed for prison, sentenced to five years, suspended after 13 months served, despite her own tears and the tearful pleas of her parents that she had learned her lesson and suffered enough.
Prosecutor Christopher A. Parakilas had urged prison time, saying a message had to be sent as a deterrent. It did. Hopefully some teens will receive it and not make the same stupid, tragic mistake.