Court hearing for teen driver in deadly crash

Posted at 11:25 AM, May 06, 2015
and last updated 2016-04-08 18:45:35-04

UPDATE: On April 8, 2016, Tristyn Dino's driver's license was suspended for 20 years and he was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.



A teenager's right to drive taken away for one year. The decision in court comes too late for the family of Brittany Baxter, the young woman killed in a crash in The Acreage April 23.

The case raises new questions about Florida's teen driving laws and how a young driver stayed on the road so long with a record of problems.

PBSO says 17-year-old Tristyn Dino ran a stop sign at Tangerine Boulevard and 120 Ave hitting Baxter's car. At the time, he had five traffic tickets; including one with just his learner's license.

That one ticket could have taken away Dino's right to drive, but it didn't.

"It's really hard, the worst thing you could go through," explained Eric Baxter, Brittany's father.

He only has memories of his 18-year-old daughter.

"Tomorrow marks two weeks," Eric says almost in disbelief.

"It's obviously way too many tickets," says William Abramson.

As a traffic lawyer, Abramson's seen a lot of driving records. We showed him Dino's.

"I've represented a lot of juveniles, this is definitely the top five percent [of the worst records]," he explains.

The record shows Dino got his learner's license in 2012, just after he turned 15. About 11 months later, he got a ticket for driving without a guardian in the car.

State law says a conviction for getting a ticket with a learner's license would keep a teen from driving for up to one year.

Dino was given his driver's license in 2013 because he applied for it a month before he was convicted for that ticket. So the conviction didn't show up on his record when he applied for his license.

"You cannot look at a driving record and see pending tickets, you can only see tickets which have gone to court, tickets that have been resolved," explains Abramson.

He believes Dino's case has several examples of how teen driving laws can be improved in Florida.

"Obviously, he didn't understand the importance or value of a license," says Abramson.

He suggests a juvenile traffic court which mandates teens go before a judge on each ticket. He'd like to see more education about the risks and dangers of driving.

Baxter's parents think the system needs an overhaul too.

"It's hard to think about without getting angry," Eric says.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash which killed Baxter. A spokesperson says the investigation could take months.

Dino is not facing any charges related to the crash, at this time.

Wednesday morning, a judge suspended Dino's license for one year because of a separate speeding ticket.

A PBSO deputy says he caught Dino driving 92 mph in a 50 mph zone on Okeechobee Boulevard in February.

Dino was not in court for Wednesday's hearing related to the ticket. Brittany's parents were.

They say the ruling brings some relief.

"It never goes away, but it will, hopefully become a little easier to where we can function a little bit,” says Eric.