Salisbury woman loses license after fatal Seabrook crash

RYAN HUTTON/Staff photoDawn Marie Barcellona speaks to the family of Andrew Dobson at the end of her sentencing hearing Monday in Rockingham Superior Court on a drunken-driving charge stemming from an October 2018 crash in which she struck and killed Dobson. 

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — Dawn Marie Barcellona stood and apologized to the family of Andrew "Dibba" Dobson, who was killed in a Seabrook crash, just seconds after she was sentenced Monday afternoon for a drunken-driving conviction. 

Barcellona, a mother of three, told Dobson's family she was sorry for both their loss and what happened on the night of Oct. 21, 2018. 

Barcellona, 58, of Salisbury was sentenced to a one-year loss of license and fined $500 by Rockingham Superior Court Judge Daniel St. Hilaire. 

St. Hilaire found Barcellona guilty of driving while intoxicated after a one-day bench trial Oct. 9.

Barcellona has been barred from driving and her Jeep impounded since the crash occurred. St. Hilaire's sentence means her loss of license extends now into a second year.

Deputy Rockingham County Attorney Jennifer Haggar had asked the judge to impose a two-year loss of license, fines and 40 hours of community service where Barcellona would be required to speak publicly about the dangers of drunken driving. 

Noting the conviction was for a first offense of driving while intoxicated, St. Hilaire did not impose any community service requirements. He ordered her to pay a $1,000 fine but said half of it, $500, was suspended. 

Barcellona is required to taken an impaired driver's safety class and once completed, she can petition the court to get her license reinstated early. 

Dobson family members came to court prepared to make victim impact statements to the judge. Barcellona's attorney, Stephen Jeffco, objected to the statements, however, and St. Hilaire agreed. 

Felony indictments against Barcellona for negligent homicide were not prosecuted, St. Hilaire noted. 

St. Hilaire said he could not hear "victim impact statements regarding a death of a family member" when it was not an element of the crime.

He said "no party can prove to me who was at fault for the accident." 

Susan Dobson, Andrew's mother, got up and left the courtroom after St. Hilaire said she and other family members present could not address the court. She was not in court when Barcellona apologized.

Jeffco said Barcellona wanted to reach out to the family since the crash but she was ordered not to have any contact with them and he also advised her not to do so.

"It was my decision, not hers," Jeffco said.  

On the night of Oct. 21, 2018, Dobson, 51, left his parents’ home on Commonwealth Avenue in Salisbury where he lived. He had been watching football and went to a nearby convenience store for a pack of cigarettes, according to family members.

Dobson, a North Andover native, was struck and killed on his way home on Ocean Boulevard (Route 1A) in Seabrook, close to the Salisbury line, about 8 p.m.

Barcellona was driving the Jeep that struck him, police said.

Dobson, the father of a 12-year-old boy, was ripped out of his sneakers and sustained a cracked skull, according to court documents.

Barcellona's trial spanned roughly four hours and after, St. Hilaire took the matter under advisement for several weeks before issuing the guilty verdict.

Barcellona previously rejected a plea deal that would allow her to avoid jail time and instead pay a $500 fine and surrender her driver’s license for nine months, according to court documents. She opted to take the case to trial and did not testify.

The Dobson family hired attorney Nicole Reilly to assist them throughout the criminal case and to question why Seabrook police and New Hampshire State Police police had not investigated the fatal accident more thoroughly. 

After the sentencing, family members said they will continue asking questions about how the case was handled by authorities. 

"He chose not to drink and drive and she chose to drink and drive," said Sean Dobson, one of Andrew's two brothers, outside the courtroom. 

Susan Dobson handed a reporter copies of the victim impact statements she, Sean and her husband, Paul, hoped to read in court. 

"I could stand here all day and tell you the ways I miss my son, Andy. He is in our thoughts constantly. His absence haunts our everyday lives. His infectious sense of humor, his helpfulness and his concern for Paul and I is gone. It is beyond our grasp. It is now a memory ... Andy will never be with us again."

"He is gone forever," read Susan Dobson's statement.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

Recommended for you