Home   |   About Bucks   |   Site Map     Twitter Facebook

Government

Row Officers

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of the Bucks County District Attorney

News Releases

Teen Driver Sanctioned for Death of "American Idol" Hopeful

May 13, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Robert James, 215.348.6332, rdjames@buckscounty.org


A New Jersey teen adjudicated delinquent on homicide by vehicle and other charges in the death of her 20-year-old friend in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 was placed under a number of restrictions and rehabilitative conditions Thursday in Bucks County Juvenile Court.

Five others, including the driver, were injured in the Aug. 2 incident.

Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley placed the teen on indefinite probation and ordered her to perform 250 hours of community service, write letters of apology to all victims of the crash and pay $13,503 in restitution.

The judge also ordered her to continue with mental health therapy, to maintain employment, to write an essay on the dangers of reckless driving, and to have no contact with the victims or their families. She will be unable to drive legally for at least five years.

Although the young woman turned 18 two weeks after the crash, she was not prosecuted as an adult because she was a juvenile at the time. In juvenile court proceedings, the need for treatment, supervision and rehabilitation are emphasized because of the defendant’s age. She is not being named by this office because of her juvenile status at the time of the crash.

The crash occurred in Lower Makefield Township as the teen was driving northbound on I-95 with five passengers in a 2003 Jeep Liberty. The vehicle went out of control at a high speed and rolled over several times in the grass median. Three of the six occupants were ejected.

Killed was Natasha Bellott, 20, of Bloomfield, N.J., an aspiring singer. The group was returning from attending Bellott’s audition in Philadelphia for the “American Idol” television show. The other five were hospitalized with injuries, including the young driver, who was thrown from the vehicle and seriously injured.

Investigators later determined that the teen was driving about 70 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone, that she was distracted and that she lost control of the vehicle during a careless attempt to pass another vehicle by pulling onto the right shoulder of the highway. The vehicle then veered across the northbound lanes and into the median, where it overturned and rolled.

At a hearing Feb. 3, Judge Finley adjudicated the driver delinquent on charges of homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, reckless endangerment, and a number of traffic violations. The adjudication of delinquency for this juvenile defendant is the equivalent of a guilty verdict for an adult.  

Before the Feb. 3 proceeding, Natasha Bellott’s relatives and friends submitted several victim-impact statements describing her, in the words of one sister, as a “loving, fun and beautiful person inside and out.” Some of the letters described her nervous excitement about trying out for the “American Idol” show.

In the end, her sister wrote, Bellott was killed by a reckless act while “coming back from living her dream.”

Approved for release by Michele Kelly Walsh, Deputy District Attorney.

Comments are not allowed anymore

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

www.facebook.com/BucksCoDA
www.twitter.com/BucksDA