Aaron Deveau of Haverhill was given concurrent 2 1/2 and two-year sentences for vehicular homicide and negligent operation of a vehicle while texting, the Boston Globe reported. But District Judge Stephen Abany suspended everything exceeding a year.
Deterring other drivers was his main consideration in sending Deveau to jail, the judge said. He also suspended Deveau's license for 15 years.
"People really want to be safe on the highways," the judge added.
Deveau was 17 when he hit the car driven by Daniel Bowley Jr. of New Hampshire head on in Haverhill in February 2011. Bowley died 18 days later in a Boston hospital.
Bowley's girlfriend, Luz Roman, told the judge she suffered a "broken leg, broken heart" in the crash.
Deveau testified Tuesday he was not texting before the crash. Phone records contradicted his claim.
Deveau was immediately jailed to begin serving his sentence.