LACONIA — A man who who was driving a car that crashed into a tree on Parade Road last November in an accident which claimed the life of a Laconia woman and severely injured a passenger has been sentenced to the State Prison and ordered to pay funeral expenses and medical costs of the victims.
Ryan Mears, 26, formerly of Windsong Drive, Kingston, entered a negotiated plea of guilty to three charges in the accident; negligent homicide, second degree assault and a controlled drug violation and was sentenced Monday by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Beknap County Superior Court..
He had admitted to police that he had used cocaine before the accident and had had at least three shots of whiskey.
Killed instantly in the Nov. 2 accident was Tiffany Nieves, 28, of Laconia, who was a passenger in the back seat of the black Cadillac. Another passenger, Jeremy King, 28, of Atkinson, was taken to the intensive care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Mears was sentenced to 10 years maximum, five years minimum in State Prison on the negligent homicide charge and given credit for 98 days of pre-trail confinement. He was also ordered to pay $10,020.32 for funeral expenses for Nieves and fined $4,960, which was suspended upon 15 years of good behavior.
On the second degree assault charge he received a suspended sentence of three and a half to seven years in the state prison and was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution for King's medical expenses.
On the controlled drug charge he was sentenced to one and a half years to three years in the state prison which will be served concurrently with the negligent homicide sentence. A $1,240 fine was suspended.
Mears was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and counseling, as well as participate in educational programs, his drivers license was suspended indefinitely and he was ordered to have no contact with the crash victim's family or with King.
Police had initially reported that the vehicle was headed north on Parade Road, just past the Elm Street intersection, November 2 at 1:57 a.m. when the car crossed into the south bound lane, collided with a tree, and catapulted back into the road way.
A medical examiner had ruled that Nieves was killed instantly by blunt-force trauma. She was a passenger in the back seat and the examiner said she died of a torn aorta, a lacerated heart and lung and a fractured skull. She was found lying in the back seat.
At Mears' probable cause hearing on November 19, the preliminary investigating officer said King had been partially ejected from the car and was hanging by his feet with his head toward the ground when she arrived at the scene. She said that Mears was pinned behind the steering wheel in the front seat.