Wrong-way driver gets 30 years to life for killing 5 teens

The Associated Press

Burlington, Vt. – A driver convicted of killing five teenagers in a wrong-way crash nearly three years ago in Vermont was sentenced Monday to 30 years to life in prison.

Steven Bourgoin was convicted of five counts of second-degree murder in May. He apologized to the families during the hourslong sentencing hearing.

The 38-year-old Bourgoinhas acknowledged that the vehicle he was driving collided with the car carrying the five teenagers in October 2016, but he argued he was insane at the time.

In this May 15, 2019, file pool photo, Steven Bourgoin attends his murder trial in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington, Vt.

During the trial, psychiatrists said that in the days before the crash, Bourgoin thought he was on a secret mission, believed he was in danger and he thought he was getting signals from lights, radios and television static about what to do.

Prosecutors countered that Bourgoin was troubled at the time of the crash, grappling with custody of his child and relationship and financial issues, but he was not legally insane.

Bourgoin left home the night of the crash, got onto an interstate going south and then turned around and started heading north in the southbound lane at around 90 miles per hour (145 kilometers per hour), police said. He collided with the car that carried the teenagers in Williston, Vermont.

The crash killed Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.

At the emotional hearing Monday, parents of the teenagers said Bourgoin stole their children from all those who loved them and that he must show accountability for what he has done.

One father said he must forgive Bourgoin so he can be like his own daughter, who he described as having grace.

The mother of another victim told Bourgoin that there were no words to quantify what he took from her.

The judge noted that countless people have been victimized by Bourgoin’s actions, including first responders, relatives and the teens’ school community.

Bourgoin will received credit for time served of nearly three years.