The teenager accused of recklessly crashing his car into a school bus and injuring three of his friends entered a not guilty plea in Monroe County Court Thursday.
While his friends continue to suffer from serious injuries sustained in that car crash, 16-year-old John Zakhary stood before the judge, appearing in good health and without injury, and pleaded not guilty to the now several felony charges against him.
Those charges stem from the serious crash on Warren Road in Brighton back on October 9th. A car driven by Zakhary slammed into the back of a slow-moving school bus. Zahkary's passengers all sustained moderate-to-severe injuries when that car became pinned under the bus.
Zakhary is accused of speeding, running a stop sign and reckless driving in that crash, as well as now two felony counts of second-degree assault for injuries sustained by his friends.
The District Attorney's Office says this is an interesting case to prosecute, to say the least, because the victims are all young teenagers, and all of them know each other.
"I think sometimes members of the community think that because everybody knew each other, that they all somehow took a part of the risk, but the problem is that when you start thinking like that, then you start holding people less and less accountable for their own actions. Most of the parents of the kids are very upset about the circumstances that led to the incident, like any parent would be," said Ray Benitez, Assistant District Attorney.
Zakhary is released under his parents supervision, and under these court-mandated conditions:
- He must attend school every day
- He must obey his parents' wishes at all times
- His daily curfew is 7 p.m. If Zakhary attends an activity approved and supervised by his parents, the curfew is pushed to 11 p.m.
- He must not be arrested for the duration of his release
- He must surrender his driver's license to the court and refrain from driving
John Zakhary is due back in County Court on February 21st.