SEABROOK — When the Jeep struck him, Andrew Dobson was ripped out of his white sneakers, which police found in the middle of Ocean Boulevard as the 51-year-old father bled from a cracked skull, according to a police report.
Dobson was steps from home and carrying a fresh pack of cigarettes after walking to a convenience store between a string of Sunday football games, his family recalls.
Dawn Marie Barcellona, 59, the Salisbury woman charged in the Oct. 21, 2018, death, told police at the scene she drank a white Russian before the crash. While being booked at Seabrook Police Department, however, she admitted to having a second vodka and milk drink, telling police she lied at first because she was scared.
This past week and nearing the year anniversary of the deadly crash, Barcellona rejected a plea deal that would allow her to avoid jail and instead pay a $500 fine and surrender her license for nine months.
A bench trial is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Rockingham Superior Court in Brentwood.
Dobson’s loved ones say they are horrified by how the case has been handled and the loss they are left with, especially his preteen son Liam, who is forced to grow up without his dad.
“The whole family is absolutely disgusted. From the start until now, the whole case has been disturbing. ... They are totally just disregarding my brother’s life like he never existed,” said Sean Dobson, one of Andrew’s two brothers.
In March, Barcellona was indicted on two counts of negligent homicide and driving under the influence, according to court records. The indictment indicates Barcellona was using her phone while behind the wheel that night.
But the charges were reduced to a single misdemeanor count of DUI at a hearing in September.
The prosecutor, Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Haggar, refused to comment on the case for this story. A lawyer hired by the Dobson family, however, points to critical missteps in the investigation.
Attorney Nicole Reilly of Middleton, Massachusetts, said no accident reconstruction was done and that was her “first red flag.”
In a police report, Seabrook police Sgt. David Buccheri wrote that he “requested a call be placed to the State Police Accident Reconstruction Team as well as the County Attorneys’ Office and Medical Examiner.”
There is no other mention in documents of more investigators arriving at the scene.
Reilly said she was unable to gather specifics on the fatal crash from the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office, including exactly where Dobson was walking at the time of the fatal accident and from what angle the Jeep approached.
She said she met with prosecutors on several occasions in an attempt to learn more.
“I honestly don’t know. ... It’s brutal,” she said of the lack of information in prosecutors’ possession.
“A person passed away after being struck by a motor vehicle and no one thought ‘we need to get accident reconstruction on this?’ ... That is mind boggling,” she said.
Accident reconstruction is done “for far less serious matters,” she said.
Reilly said she has continually questioned “where is the evidence that would be admissible in a DUI investigation?”
“At first I got blank stares and now I’m told those tests weren’t done,” Reilly said in an interview Friday. “Had we had those pieces of information we would not be dealing with a Class B misdemeanor.”
She said the Dobson family is “horrified and disgusted by the way this was handled.”
“A $500 fine for the loss of a father, brother, a son and friend. It’s unconscionable. For the loss of Andrew,” Reilly said.
While the family aches for answers, a police report provides a glimpse into Dobson’s last night alive.
Barcellona told police she was following her boyfriend, John Motta, after working a shift at Seaglass Restaurant. The next thing she knew, Dobson “stepped out in front of her and he hit her hood,” the report reads.
But her story changed, according to a police report.
Buccheri wrote in the report that Barcellona actually left work at 4 p.m. and joined friends at Capri’s in Salisbury, where someone sent a free white Russian over to her, she said.
He described a moderate smell of alcohol coming off of Barcellona.
He led her through a series of field sobriety tests, several of which she could not complete, he said.
“Dawn admitted to consuming two white Russians at Capris and advised she lied because she was scared,” according to the report.
Police took Barcellona to the Seabrook Emergency Room for blood tests.
The results of the blood tests were not available in court records.
Barcellona’s attorney, Stephen Jeffco, could not be reached for comment for this story.