Sanchez’s Wrongful Death Reminds Of Jennifer Rivera

It appears that the State Police and the Attorney General have decided to NOT bring criminal charges against the 24-year-old man, Benjamin Servideo, who rear-ended and killed a 9-month pregnant woman Sullynette Sanchez and her infant who was born immediately after the accident, Noah.  Servideo claims that he became a distracted driver when his wallet fell and he looked for it.

Members of the community have expressed outrage on facebook and the radio at the decision to slap the wrist of Servideo instead of bringing criminal actions.  It sparks memories of another Attorney General who faced an outcry in the community after the death of a young, innocent girl named Jennifer Rivera.

Wouldn’t this section of the criminal code be relevant?

RIGL § 31-27-1  Driving so as to endanger, resulting in death. – (a) When the death of any person ensues as a proximate result of an injury received by the operation of any vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others, including violations of § 31-27-22, the person so operating the vehicle shall be guilty of “driving so as to endanger, resulting in death”.     (b) Any person charged with the commission of this offense shall upon conviction be imprisoned for not more than ten (10) years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for no more than five (5) years.

The interview with the fiance and dad of the deceased is heartbreaking.

For the first time since the crash, Steven Bustamante — Sanchez’s fiance and the baby’s father — spoke about his loss.

“My fiancee and my son are not here, and I’m never going to be able to get them back,” Bustamante said.

Bustamante was about to marry the love of his life, Sully Sanchez, who was pregnant with their son, when that dream was torn away, replaced by a nightmare he lives every day.

“Let them be alive and me not be here, and it was the most painful thing not to be able to help them,” Bustamante said.

Sanchez was driving on Route 4 in East Greenwich when another driver struck her from behind.

“Justice to me is consequences for his actions, not a ticket, taking his license away,” Bustamante said.

The family learned Monday that the driver, Benjamin Servideo, will not face criminal charges. Instead, he is facing a trial on civil violations in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.

“He didn’t just kill one person, he killed two,” Bustamante said.

Bustamante is left with anger to compound his already overwhelming grief.

“Your son is supposed to bury you, not me bury my son or fiancee. It’s not right. It’s not right at all,” Bustamante said.

It is surprising that a Grand Jury was not even convened to ask the question of criminal liability.

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2 responses to “Sanchez’s Wrongful Death Reminds Of Jennifer Rivera”

  1. DogDiesel

    This is truly a tragedy but what would possess you to compare this to the Jennifer Rivera case. One was a premeditated murder. The other appears to be an accident. There would need to be evidence of reckless ‘disregard of the safety of others’ before you could present it to a Grand Jury. I don’t know the driver but I’m guessing that his misery, while not comparable to the family’s, is not over.

    1. cailin rua

      DogDiesel, for once, I couldn’t agree with you more.  I read the article about this incident in the Projo.  This post reads like a typical comment one would find in that newspaper.  Even in the comments section there, some of the responses were more enlightened than this analysis.  This was definitely a horrible tragedy but as you say, its not over for Servideo.  What would be accomplished in sending him to the ACI?  How would anyone benefit from that?  

      The word “avenge” comes to mind when I read analyses like the one above-

      “ Avenge is now restricted to inflicting punishment as an act of retributive justice or as a vindication of propriety: toavenge a murder by bringing the criminal to trial.”  . . . from dictionary.com

       I don’t see a criminal act involved here.  I don’t believe “retributive justice” is justice, either, unless it somehow serves to prevent future crimes or future tragedies like this one.  I don’t see what retribution would accomplish in this case.  

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