AUBURN – Steve Gregoire told a judge on Friday that he spent his birthday two years ago at the scene of an accident in Lewiston, watching his 19-year-old daughter being pulled out of her mutilated car and listening to her screaming pain from several serious injuries until she passed out.
The accident caused an open fracture in the top of her daughter’s leg, fractured her lower leg, caused an open fracture in her upper arm, and shattered the bones in her forearm.
This left her with third degree burns on her lower leg and a deep gash in her thigh.
She spent about a month in the hospital before a long recovery involving surgery and painful physical therapy.
“Just thinking about it makes me cry,” Alesha Gregoire, 21, said on Friday when the man who hit his tow truck head on in the Subaru she was driving on Lisbon Street was convicted of. Lewiston around 5:30 p.m. on August 19. 16, 2019.
The truck driven by Dalton Farrington, 29, of 483 Hotel Road, Auburn, had veered into Gregory’s lane while taking the opioid fentanyl, Deputy Prosecutor Molly Butler Bailey told the judge on Friday.
Judge Thomas McKeon sentenced Farrington in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Friday to 10 years in prison, but suspended for six years. That means Farrington will spend four years in jail for aggravated assault. He will be on probation for three years after his release.
McKeon also imposed concurrent sentences of six months and 12 months, respectively, on charges of aggravated exploitation under the influence of drugs and reckless driving with a dangerous weapon. Farrington was fined $ 2,100. He lost his license for six years.
Since his arrest, Farrington has been on a drug addiction drug rehab program, defense attorney Donald Hornblower has said. He said his client had taken responsibility for his actions by agreeing to plead guilty to avoid putting the young woman and her family to trial.
He said Farrington continued to feel shame and guilt for the accident.
Farrington, appearing from Androscoggin County Jail via video conference, apologized to his victims.
“I am deeply sorry for my decisions and the choices I made that day,” he said.
Gregoire was a student at Maine Maritime Academy at the time of the accident, but had to miss a semester due to his injuries. She has since returned to school and attended the Friday hearing via video conference aboard a ship in Bass Harbor off the coast of Maine, she said.
She said her fractures continued to cause her pain and limit her physically, preventing her from doing many of the activities she once loved, such as scuba diving.
“I feel the consequences every day,” she said.
Friday’s moving hearing featured statements from Gregory and his parents that fought back sobs at the memory of the accident and its aftermath.
Farrington chose to do drugs and get behind the wheel that day, Steve Gregoire told the judge.
The only choices given to her daughter were how to react to the tow truck knocking her into its lane, said Grégoire: swerve to the right or to the left to try to avoid it.
She turned left into the center turn lane, possibly saving her life, but Farrington at that point sought to correct his mistake by returning to her lane, which resulted in the head-on collision, Steve Gregoire said.
Police then found syringes and fentanyl in Farrington’s backpack in the cab of the truck. A lab detected morphine and fentanyl in his urine.
Several witnesses told police they saw the tow truck, which was carrying another vehicle, driven by Farrington, completely veer into the wrong lane before the crash.
Alesha Gregoire had been listed in critical condition and had to breathe through a tube after being rushed to a nearby hospital.
His father, testifying on Friday, told the judge that day had haunted him ever since and that he could still clearly hear his daughter’s screams and cries.
“It’s something that I can’t get out of my head,” he said.
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