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L.I. Student Charged In New Zealand Crash That Killed His Classmates

Daniela Lekhno, Roch Jauberty, and Austin Brashears (credit: CBS2)

Daniela Lekhno, Roch Jauberty, and Austin Brashears (credit: CBS2)

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A college student from Long Island has been charged in the crash that killed three of his fellow Boston University students in New Zealand.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

Investigators said that 20-year-old Stephen Houseman, of Massapequa, was behind the wheel of a minivan when it veered off the road in a rural part of the country.

Authorities said no drugs or alcohol were in Houseman’s system.Police have filed seven charges of careless driving causing death or injury. Each charge carries a maximum jail term of three months.

Killed in the crash were 20-year-old Daniela Lekhno of Seagate, Brooklyn and Manalapan, New Jersey; 21-year-old Austin Brashears of California; and the 21-year-old Roch Jauberty, whose parents live in Paris.

The harsh treatment of the driver in New Zealand has some legal experts in the United States shaking their heads.  With they same set of circumstances, they said the driver would likely be sued, but not criminally charged.

“Generally it requires a really excessive speed with other factors — like 100 m.p.h.,  weaving in and out of traffic,” Marc Gann, a former president of the Nassau Bar Association, told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “Just because there is an accident, doesn’t mean there are or should be criminal charges.”

Nobody answered the door at Houseman’s home on Friday. WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall was told that the family has traveled to New Zealand to be with their son as he faces the charges. Authorities have taken his passport.

“Honestly, it makes no sense,” a neighbor told Hall. “Accidents happen all the time and now he’s in a different country being charged with a crime where no crime was committed.”

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