Danville man says friend who died in fatal Derry crash was driving
BRENTWOOD - A Danville man on trial for negligent homicide is claiming his friend who died in the crash was actually the one driving the vehicle when it went into a ditch and struck a tree.
Lawyers for Cameron Dearborn, 19, made the claim Monday afternoon during opening statements of his negligent-homicide trial in Rockingham County Superior Court. Dearborn is facing two counts of negligent homicide. He is accused of causing a single-car wreck along Frost Road in Derry that killed Korey Traficante, 17, on the night of Nov. 20, 2010.
Assistant County Attorney Benjamin LeDuc argued that while there may be no witnesses saying they had seen Dearborn drive the 1998 Saturn, his own words put him behind the wheel. Defense lawyer Kenneth Bernard countered that his client has no memory of the crash and suffered his own traumatic injuries.
"He doesn't remember this because this is such a traumatic event in his life," Bernard said.
An accident reconstruction expert hired by the defense is expected to testify that the placement of Traficante's body in the rear of the vehicle suggests he was the driver.
Two witnesses testified Monday that they approached the vehicle moments after it went off the road near 20 Frost Road in Derry and heard a person in the car say, "I killed my best friend."
"It was a repetitive thing - over and over and over again," said Michelle Richards, 23, of Derry, who lived down the street from where the crash occurred. She testified she left her home around 11 p.m. to investigate the large bang she heard outside.
Richards' testimony was followed by Paul MacCallum, a local retiree who volunteers as a photographer for area fire departments. MacCallum testified he heard about the crash while monitoring a police scanner at his home. He said he arrived prior to the fire department and saw Dearborn trapped inside the car, trying to punch his way out through a window.
"He was screaming, 'Get me the (expletive) out of here. I think I just killed my friend,' " MacCallum testified.
The jury inspected many of the 38 photographs taken by MacCallum while he was at the crash scene.
LeDuc told jurors that Dearborn also called a friend while trapped inside the vehicle and said, "I killed Korey."
Dearborn and Traficante were friends who attended Pinkerton Academy in Derry, and the two were at a party together earlier in the evening, according to prosecutors.
Bernard said prosecutors lacked any type of DNA evidence, blood or fingerprints showing that Dearborn was in the driver's seat. Bernard said both Dearborn and Traficante were in the rear of the vehicle when first responders and neighbors arrived.
"The state will not present one shred of that type of evidence to you," Bernard said. "They will present certain individuals who said they heard this call and contradict themselves. They say one thing one day, one thing another day."
Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday.