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Epping man sentenced 6-12 years in prison for wreck that killed friend

Union Leader Correspondent

November 13. 2012 4:52PM
Scott Currier, of Epping was sentenced 6 to 12 years in state prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to negligent homicide. Currier caused the fatal wreck that killed Joshua Pratt, 25, of Newmarket on Jan. 8. (COURTESY)

BRENTWOOD - An Epping man was told by a judge Tuesday that he was lucky to only receive a 6- to12-year prison sentence for causing the fatal wreck that killed his friend in January.

Scott Currier, 27, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and operating as a habitual offender for the crash that killed Joshua Pratt in the early morning hours of Jan. 8 along Red Oak Hill Road in Epping.

Before being sent off to state prison, Currier was scolded by Judge N. William Delker.

'Frankly, six to 12 years is a gift, Mr. Currier,' Delker said. 'The facts I heard warrant a second-degree murder charge.'

Currier, who was barred by the state from driving, wanted to get behind the wheel of Pratt's Nissan Sentra after the two had been to a tavern and a house party earlier in the night, prosecutors said.

'It was at (Currier's) insistence,' assistant county attorney Jerome Blanchard said. 'He made comments of, 'You don't know how to drive your own car.''

Once Currier got behind the wheel, he used the emergency brake to do donuts along the road. Currier was still using the emergency brake while driving down Red Oak Hill Road in Epping, eventually causing the vehicle to flip on its hood.

Pratt, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene.

State police say Currier was driving at least twice as fast as the 35 mph speed limit when he crashed. When police arrived, Currier denied being behind the wheel.

Larry and Karen Pratt recounted the horror of learning that their son was killed in the wreck by getting a phone call from one of their son's friends at 4:50 a.m. who was also in the car.

'Whatever you receive for a sentence today, it will never be enough for me,' Larry Pratt said. 'One day you will walk away a free man and Josh will never walk this Earth again.'

Currier refused to look at anyone in the courtroom during the plea and sentencing hearing and apologized through his lawyer.

Karen Pratt said to Currier, 'I pray that someday forgiveness can be made, but as a mother I will never be able to forgive because you decided not to stay and be there for him and help him.'

Currier's driving record - which included three convictions for road racing - was among the examples of how he routinely flouted the law, Blanchard said.

At the time of the crash, Currier had been off parole for three weeks after serving an 8- to 20-year prison sentence for aggravated felonious sexual assault. Blanchard said that Currier went to prison for that offense on Dec. 20, 2005, for sexually assaulting a girl between 13 and 14 years old.

Currier was later convicted of criminal contempt in 2008 for calling the girl while in prison.

Delker said the only reason he accepted the terms of the plea deal was so Pratt's family would not have to endure the pain of going through a trial.

'By pleading guilty, you have spared Joshua's family of having to go through a trial and listen to how you killed Joshua,' Delker said. 'So the 6- to 12-year sentence is not an appropriate one, but one I will accept in this case.'

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