Judge Issues Lifetime Driving Ban on 17-Year-Old to ‘Send Message About Reckless Driving’

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carA Rhode Island judge says he imposed a lifetime driving ban on a 17-year-old boy after a serious car accident because he wanted to send a message about reckless driving.

Judge William Guglietta revoked Lyle Topa’s license for the rest of his life on Tuesday in connection with the Oct. 23 crash in Charlestown. Topa and three other Chariho High School students were injured when their car crashed into a tree. One passenger was in a coma for weeks. Topa was driving with a suspended license at the time of the accident, according to The Westerly Sun.

Guglietta said Thursday that Rhode Island’s roads are “littered with broken dreams and broken futures” and it’s time for authorities to get serious about dangerous driving.

“It was the most strict, most drastic penalty this court can order,” Guglietta said, according to The Westerly Sun.

Topa’s lawyer says the penalty is too harsh and may be improper. But the teen can apply to the court to get his license back.

{CBS Connecticut/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Way to go Guglietta. Now if all the other judges copies him, maybe, just maybe these idiots would think twice before ruining other people’s lives.
    Oh, I’m sure the tree was driving too fast in the oncoming lane.

  2. If the kid was already driving on a suspended lisence what’s to stop him from driving with no lisence at all. Those who break laws don’t differentiate between one law they break and another,it’s all the same to them.

  3. Although I hear where the judge is coming from, I think this is way too harsh and will affect this teenager in many ways unfairly for life.

  4. It does seem rather extreme. Ten years I could see, but lifetime? This will seriously impact his ability to make a living. Now let’s see if they impose the same penalty on adults with the same record. Otherwise it looks like good old-fashioned age discrimination, but this time against the young rather than the old.

  5. Right in time for Purim as a warning for drinking and driving. Nothing happens for no reason. If you’re an arrogant idiot and somehow manage to survive then pay up! Guilty as charged.

  6. Why is this guy a judge if he has no sense of judgement? It’s very easy to ‘teach lessons’. There are like-minded judges in Iran and Saudia Arabia.

  7. This penalty is going WAY overboard! Not having a license means having difficulty going to school, getting a job, keeping a job and so many other things. I don’t believe this wont get thrown out by a higher court (although his lawyer may very well be incompetent).

  8. To Judge William Guglietta I would want to say:


    For far, far, far, too long, good sincere drivers have been virtually terrorized on the highways by callous drivers who act like they “own the road.” Countless times it has happened to me that I am driving on the highway at maybe even a drop above the 65 MPH or 70 MPH legal limit. Suddenly, a vehicle — often it is one of these very large pick-up trucks — is directly behind me almost touching my back bumper!


    He usually flashes his brights on at me, and he just stays there, following me until I — obviously I must first wait until the lane next to me is fully clear and safe to go into — until I move over.

    And then, he just shoots way ahead! (And again, I myself am already going maybe even a little bit ABOVE the 65 MPH or 70 MPH legal limit, AND HE IS RACING AHEAD WAY ABOVE THAT!!)

    So when any of these mean drivers actually does make a massive crash, there is no question at all that they must be given very severe punishment!

  9. The judge is just harassing the boy, the decision does not hold water and will be thrown out, but in the meantime, plenty of expense and heartache for this person and his family. The judge is a true rasha. Judges (and DAs) can do everything they want and are not held accountable by anyone. Not even by public opinion.

  10. (continuation of my previous comment)

    One issue though, is that if we are going to give a harsh sentence to one callous driver, then we must be truely fair and give these same harsh sentences to ALL wild drivers. Every time a mean driver is either not caught by the police, or is caught, but is not given a substancial sentence, it is extremely OUTRIGHT UNFAIR to Mr. Topa and others like him who did have “the book” thrown at them.

    Furthermore, it is further unfair to all of us countless people who ARE more or less decent drivers. Our problems are the unintentional errors like “we didn’t notice that Stop Sign.” When we do have those slips, we are not, Chas V’Shalom “mad” at the police. On the contrary, when they give us the tickets, THAT IS GOOD, yes, that is very good! Yes, we have to actually APPRECIATE them giving us the tickets, for they are teaching us how severely urgent it is for us to be more careful!!

    At the same time though, there are very many mean, callous drivers who — with what is really outright mean callous pre-mediation — are outright terrorizing very many people on the road. Countless times, their mean callous antics — totally expectedly — result in massive horrific crashes with severe frightening injuries and death.

    Yet, there are instances (see next comment) where these mean drivers manage to avoid any real punishment for their terrible pre-meditated crimes. This is greately unfair to us, for we are given stiff fines — which we dutifully pay — for our unintentional errors. In other words, us “little fish” with our “little crimes” ARE caught and punished, while the “big fish” with their “big crimes” are virtually let free!

  11. (continuation of my previous comment)

    A few years ago, the following incident occurred in the suburban town north of the SF metro area where my family resides.

    An older teen age boy was given by his wealthy father a new custom built Mustang. Soon after that, he took a few of his friends for a ride in the super fancy car. He took them out on a rural two lane road that winds around the steep hills and countryside west of the town. At one point in the drive, he wanted to show his friends the real power of the car, so he shot up the accelerator and began racing the car at nearly ONE HUNDRED MILES PER HOUR!!

    Needless to say, after a few moments of this “speed thrill” on the curvy road, the car flies totally out of control and forcefully smashes into a large pole.

    Lo Alaynu, all of the passengers are severely gashed and slashed up. One of them dies right away; another one lingers in the hospital for about a week and then dies; the third one does survive — after laying in the hospital for several months and undergoing several surgeries. The boy driver himself though, got (relatively) minor injuries and is out of the hospital after only a few days.

    The media claimed that the police had said that they WERE really going to “throw the book” at the driver boy — jail time and all.

    However . . .

    First of all, as mentioned above, the boy’s father is very rich and is thus quite a prominent person in the town. Furthermore, the boy himself was a big FOOTBALL PLAYER; the coach of his high school team thus blabbed out to the media about how this boy was such a great guy!

    So what was actually done to the boy?

    Well, his driver’s license WAS suspended — not revoked but just suspended — for three years. Not for life. Not for twenty years. Not for ten years. Not even for five years. Just for three years.

    Also, one of the local judges came to the boy’s school. No, the boy did not go to the courtroom to the judge; rather, THE JUDGE CAME TO HIM! Yes, the judge came over to the campus of the boy’s high school, where he went into one of the classrooms with the boy and had a little chat with him.

    Oh, and “just” by the way, the boy never expressed any remorse or apology to the families of his injured and dead passengers.


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