If you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel of a car after “a few” beers, consider first the case of Cameron Dearborn of Danville.
Dearborn was drunk when he crashed the car he was driving and killed his best friend and Pinkerton Academy classmate Korey Traficante.
Both were 17 at the time of the crash; Dearborn is now 19.
They had been drinking beer with friends at Dearborn’s former home in Derry the night of Nov. 20, 2010, when they took off in a friend’s car.
The car hit a stone wall and tree then flipped over on Frost Road in Derry, not far from the house where they had been drinking. Trafficante’s lifeless body was found in the back seat. Dearborn was in the front seat, screaming and trying to call out through the windshield.
Dearborn learned nothing from the horrific accident. While awaiting trial, he was arrested by Danville police last year on charges of drug and alcohol possession at his home, where police found beer and marijuana. He ultimately pleaded no contest to marijuana possession.
During the trial Dearborn showed little or no remorse or regret about the death of his friend. Instead, he claimed that the friend was the one who was driving that night.
A jury didn’t buy Dearborn’s story and in March convicted him of negligent homicide and aggravated drunken driving.
Dearborn sobbed when the verdict was read, tears streaming down his face.
On Friday, Rockingham Superior Court Judge N. William Delker sentenced Dearborn to five to 10 years in state prison. Dearborn will also lose his license for nine years.
At his sentencing Friday, Dearborn again portrayed himself as the victim. He told the judge he misses his friend. “I think about him all the time,” he said.
But his real feelings were for himself.
“This whole thing is a bad nightmare,” he said. He has been harassed and threatened, he said.
“I have emotional scars — images that won’t go away. It was a stupid decision to make.”
Dearborn’s “emotional scars” are nothing to those of Kevin and Angela Traficante, the parents of Dearborn’s victim, Korey Traficante.
“It just hurts so much,” the mother said. “I’ll never get to hear him again. He’s all I think about. I miss him so much.”
Kevin Traficante said he lost his home and business because he couldn’t leave his house or work for three months, just thinking about his son. “He was cheated and robbed out of the rest of his life,” the father said.
Dearborn’s own father wasn’t present for sentencing. He was barred because of an outburst after his son’s conviction, when he hurled obscenities at Traficante’s father and proclaimed, “At least I’ll be able to see my son again.”
Judge Delker showed little patience with Dearborn or his claims of victimhood at Friday’s sentencing. “There was absolutely no need for anyone to get in that car that night,” he said.
The judge practically scoffed when the prosecutor suggested that Dearborn also be sentenced to 500 hours of community service lecturing high schoolers about the dangers of underage drinking.
The judge said the unrepentant Dearborn isn’t the one to be delivering that kind of message.
There was no sympathy for Dearborn from the jury or the judge, and there’s none for him here.
He killed his best friend, tore apart two families and wrecked his own life, and his only pity was for himself.
Now he will have five years, or perhaps a decade, to think about that. If you want to avoid his fate, don’t make the choice that Dearborn did.