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Man pleads guilty to causing fatal October crash in Derry

BRENTWOOD - A Manchester man pleaded guilty to causing a fatal car wreck last October in Derry.

John Mitchell, 25, entered his plea on negligent homicide and reckless conduct charges on Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Prosecutors plan to argue for a 6- to 12-year state prison sentence. Mitchell's lawyer will be allowed to argue for a lesser sentence, but it will ultimately be left to Judge Kenneth McHugh to decide at a future hearing.

Mitchell admitted Thursday that he was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel of a 2006 Honda Civic on Oct. 23 and crashed while driving on Old Manchester Road about 1:50 a.m., according to Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton. Mitchell's passenger, Anthony Mathieu, 24, of Goffstown, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Another passenger in the vehicle, Brooke Scott, 20, was taken to a hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, prosecutors said. Mitchell was charged with reckless conduct for putting Scott's life in danger, indictments say.

As part of his plea agreement, Mitchell will have to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, and will have his driver's license revoked indefinitely. He will be allowed to reapply for a license in seven years. The state Division of Motor Vehicles will require Mitchell to install an ignition interlock device for at least five years, the agreement says.

Mitchell at first told police that someone else was driving his car at the time of the crash, court records say. He claimed "he was in the back seat of the vehicle," and "didn't know the driver's name," according to a police affidavit. Mitchell eventually acknowledged to police he was driving when the car when off the road, police said. Had Mitchell been convicted at trial, he could face up to 7 to 15 years in state prison for causing Mathieu's death.


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