Prosecutors have filed charges against 16-year-old Jaylynn Rigio of Johnstown, New Jersey in connection with a June vehicle crash that left three passengers dead. Rigio now faces three Jennilee counts of vehicular homicide, all of which are third-degree felonies, along with a fourth-degree felony count of aggravated vehicular assault and a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.
According to the complaint filed with the Licking County Juvenile Court, Rigio was driving 20 or more miles per hour over the spee limit on Hardscrabble Road on June 26 when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree. The impact killed passengers Michael T. Hoskinson, 17, Linzie Bell, 15, and Cheyenne Spurgeon, 15 instantly.
A toxicology report found “marijuana metabolites” in Rigio’s system at the time of the crash. Later, however, prosecutor Ken Oswald said the concentration of marijuana was too low to merit an official charge, which is why the Licking Country district attorney did not seek a driving under the influence charge.
Jaylynn Rigio was reportedly driving his grandmother’s car at the time of the incident. After picking up four friends, Rigio began speeding down Hardscrabble Road when the car flipped and struck a tree, tearing the vehicle in half. The Highway State Patrol estimate the car was traveling at roughly 80 miles per hour. The impact killed three of the vehicle’s four occupants, with driver Jaylynn Rigio and passenger Aston Cody, 16, survived. Cody was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and has since recovered from his injuries.
“The vehicle was split in half as a result of (the) speed with which it collided with the tree,” wrote the complaint. “Based upon conversations with two reputable toxicologists, it is not scientifically acceptable to take the results found here and conclude Mr. Rigio was ‘under the influence’ at the time of the crash.”
If convicted, Rigio faces a maximum sentence in the Department of Youth Services correctional facility until his 21st birthday, at which point he would be released. According to prosecutor Ken Oswalt, the current charges are not enough to bind over to an adult court; therefore, Rigio will be tried as a juvenile.
On a related note. Ohio state law currently prohibits 16-year-old drivers from driving with two or more passengers without a parent present. Rigio was allegedly driving with four passengers at the time of the incident. Prosecutors are not charging him with this crime, however.