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Brewer man to serve 2½ years for crash that left teen paralyzed

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Gordon Cameron, 26, looks towards his attorney Terence Harrigan during his appearance at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Monday, June 4, 2012.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A Brewer man was sentenced Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to six years in prison with all but 2½ years suspended for his role in a 2011 crash that left a teenager paralyzed.

Gordon Cameron, 27, also was sentenced to three years of probation.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson imposed the sentence two months after rejecting a plea agreement that called for Cameron to spend two years behind bars.

“I have strongly considered the family’s feelings and realize this is something of a modest adjustment,” Anderson said in imposing the sentence.

Cameron, who began serving his sentence Tuesday, pleaded guilty on June 4 at the Penobscot Judicial Center to aggravated assault and criminal operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants in connection with the March 30, 2011, crash in Brewer.

On Tuesday, Anderson also sentenced Cameron to the mandatory minimum sentence on the felony drunken driving charge of six months, ordered him to pay the mandatory $2,100 fine and suspended his driver’s license for six years.

“We think that’s fair given the overall circumstances and recognizes what the victim’s been through and [the defendant’s] acceptance of responsibility,” Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said when asked after the sentencing for a reaction to it.

Neither the victim, members of her family nor Cameron addressed Anderson on Tuesday. The victim declined to be interviewed.

Roberts said after the sentencing that he had spoken to the victim, who “indicated to me she was satisfied with the sentence and felt she’d been heard.”

On June 4, the victim, now 19, tearfully begged the judge to sentence Cameron to spend more time behind bars for causing the crash that paralyzed her from the chest down.

“Please make an example out of him with the sentencing,” said the woman, who uses a wheelchair. “Each day is punishing enough for me. I don’t need to be reminded of what happened.

“This is my reality and I’m living it,” she concluded. “So, please, all that I am asking is for you to give him a stiffer sentence. He’s well past his due.”

The crash occurred near the junction of North Main Street and Gettysburg Avenue around 12:20 a.m. March 30, 2011, Roberts told Anderson on June 4. Cameron, who had been drinking, was driving his Chevrolet Cavalier and arguing with the victim.

Cameron told police that he threatened to drive the car into a pole, the prosecutor said. He swerved the car toward a pole to scare her but apparently lost control and struck a pole farther north on the same side of the road at a speed of more than 60 mph, Roberts said in June.

A blood test showed that Cameron’s blood-alcohol level was 0.09 an hour and 15 minutes after the accident, according to Roberts. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Because Anderson rejected the plea agreement, Cameron could have withdrawn his guilty pleas and gone to trial. On Tuesday, he chose to stand by his guilty plea.

Cameron faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the aggravated assault charge.

He had no criminal record except for a misdemeanor theft conviction in 2005 and a conviction for violating his bail in the crash case by possessing marijuana and alcohol. He served an 11-day jail sentence earlier this year for the violation, according to Roberts.

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