Mother and teenager charged in pickup crash

A pickup truck crashed into a tree Thursday afternoon on Barnes Road in Edgartown. - Rich Saltzberg

Updated January 4, 2019

Police, firefighters, and emergency medical crews responded to a pickup truck smashed against a tree on Barnes Road in Edgartown Thursday afternoon.

Three people were taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital by Edgartown and Oak Bluffs ambulances, according to Edgartown Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer. The injuries are believed to be minor, according to Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee.

A mother, a 15-year-old, and an 18-year-old were in the pickup at the time of the crash, Chief McNamee said. Chief McNamee said the mother, a West Tisbury woman, allegedly allowed the 15-year-old to drive the pickup truck. It appears the 15-year-old exited Sanderson Avenue onto Barnes Road at a high rate of speed and crossed and recrossed both lanes in a u-turn maneuver that sent the truck into a tree, he said.

Edgartown Police charged the 15-year-old with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The mother was charged with allowing unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. All are criminal charges, according to Chief McNamee; however, the mother and teenager were issued only summons, not arrested. Their names were withheld by police.

The pickup was hauled away by a JWL Transportation and Towing ramp truck. Traffic headed toward Edgartown–West Tisbury Road was being directed past the deer-checking station and out by the high school for a short period of time, but the road is now reopened.

Updated to include information about charges from police. -Ed.


  1. Updated, but still without NAME. Is a police report not public record, no matter how creatively crafted?

    • We’ve updated the story to make it clear that it’s the police that withheld the names. It’s common for police departments to withhold the names of people summonsed to court, rather than being arrested.

  2. This isnt that out of the ordinary. I had a learners permit at 15-1/2. Things happen. I bet he will be a better driver now.

  3. RPCBF, usually if a person involved is a is withheld.
    Why is it that some islanders rejoice in other’s misfortune?
    douchebaggery is douchebaggery

    • Before the story was updated, we didn’t know it was about a mother teaching her teen to drive, and so some people assumed it was a kind of cover-up or protecting someone who was well-connected… Not an impossible situation to image on the island. Now that we know what the circumstances were, we can all wish the family well. Both my kids had unfortunate episodes while learning to drive. Come to think of it, so did I. And come to think of it again, I allowed something I should not have regarding my teen learing to drive.

  4. Those of you who are framing this as some romantic notion of a mother guiding her soon through a rite of passage , teaching him how to drive , seems to gloss over the fact she was knowingly and intentionally violating statute by allowing an unlicensed operator behind the wheel, someone barred from doing so. If pointing that out is “douchbaggery” on our part, then I don’t know what to say.

  5. I was taking my youngest son out for his first driving lesson and we were hit head-on by a car whose driver was not paying attention. Fortunately, there was an off duty police officer two cars behind the miscreant driver that struck us while we were standing still. Stuff happens. We should not glorify or delight in other people’s misfortune. The Germans have a term for this behavior…… Schadenfreude.
    Schadenfreude is a complex emotion, where rather than feeling sympathy towards someone’s misfortune, schadenfreude evokes joyful feelings that take pleasure from watching someone fail.
    This is one emotion that we do not need on the Vineyard.

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