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Brighton teen pleads not guilty to charges stemming from October crash

Posted at: 01/03/2013 9:18 AM
Updated at: 01/03/2013 6:13 PM

The Brighton High School student, who police say slammed his car into the back of a school bus seriously injuring his friends, plead not guilty to the grand jury indictment.

John Zakhary is only 16 years old, but the prosecutor says he's going to be treated as an adult. His age will be a factor in sentencing if he's convicted.

Zakhary plead not guilty to a nine count indictment including three counts of assault, one for each of the teenagers who were in the car at the time of the crash.

Zakhary is allowed to stay at home with his parents, but Judge Piampiano put some conditions on his release. The judge told him he has to go to school everyday unless he's sick. He has to obey his parents. He has a 7p.m. curfew unless there's an activity approved and supervised by his parents. In that case, he has to be home by 11p.m. He can't get rearrested and he has to turn over his junior license.

Police say Zakhary was speeding and blew through a stop sign on Warren Avenue with three other kids in his car. Police say the car crashed into the back of a school bus. The district attorney's office says it's cognizant of the fact that the defendant is only 16-years-old.

Ray Benitez, Assistant District Attorney, said, “Do we take that into account when screening cases certainly do. We take into account their criminal history or lack thereof, so yes we do take into consideration their age and their past criminal activity, but we also do evidence based prosecution and we go forward on that.”

As a 16-year-old, Zakhary will be tried as an adult, but at that age, the court is allowed to consider him a youthful offender, if he's convicted.