Driver In Rt. 4 Crash That Killed Pregnant Woman Won't Face Charges

Sullynette Sanchez's fiance – father of Sully's baby, who was delivered after the accident then died a few days later – is asking why.

This story was updated at 6:30 p.m.

The driver in the fatal Route 4 crash last September that killed Sullynette Sanchez, 23, will not face criminal charges, according to the lawyer for Sanchez's fiance. Sanchez was 8 months pregnant at the time of the accident; the baby was delivered by C-section, but died two weeks later.

"He’s been given traffic tickets, basically," said Joseph Ballirano, lawyer for Stephen Bustamante, Sanchez's fiance, and Sanchez's parents. Ballirano said the driver, Benjamin Servideo, 24, of Newport, was cited for conditions requiring reduced speed, failing to maintain control of his car, and not keeping the proper amount of space between vehicles.

"The police believe the motorist was going 58 [mph] at the time of the collision," Ballirano said. He confirmed that the police report said Servideo had been reaching for his wallet at the time of the crash. "The family was hoping that the police would consider that the actions of the driver were recklessly indifferent."

The Rhode Island State Police released a statement at 5 p.m. Tuesday, which included this exerpt:

"The State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit conducted an extensive and thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Through numerous investigative techniques they found that narcotics and/or alcohol were not factors in the crash. With the assistance of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, it was determined that the crash did not rise to the level of criminal recklessness, and therefore, no criminal charges will be brought against the operator at this time. 

“Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell stated, 'Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family. We recognize that this is not the outcome they may have expected, but the evidence gathered through several investigative techniques did not rise to the level of probable cause to move forward with a prosecution.'”

"He took everything from me and he’ll just get a traffic ticket. He killed two people," said Bustamante, who said Servideo had not reached out to him or Sanchez's parents. "They say he was trying to get his wallet. Is a wallet that important?"

Here are earlier stories about the accident:

Pregnant Woman Killed In Route 4 Crash

Driver In Fatal Route 4 Accident May Have Been Distracted

Baby Delivered After Crash Survives

Fundraisers Spring Up For Baby Of Crash Victim Sully Sanchez

'Good Samaritans' In Route 4 Fatal Accident Surface

Politics Sheriff of NK February 06, 2013 at 01:17 PM
AS tragic and sad as this was, the RISP determined the facts are it was an ACCIDENT. We dont imprison people for a tragic accident. Would that bring anybody back? Can anyone looking to lynch this person really say they never reached for something while driving? Or even texted?
Alicarn February 06, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Don't we have distracted driver laws on the books? Reaching for his wallet at 58 miles per hour while tailgating someone is the same as talking on the phone. He should have some criminal charges, it's one thing to go through a red light or stop sign while being distracted, killing 2 people should have brought it to a criminal offense.


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