Ashland Man Sentenced for Fatal Crash

Renee Passal
Updated: March 29, 2018 08:40 PM

Gabrielle Bressette will forever be 18-years-old. She died in a head-on crash with a logging truck back in August of 2014, leaving behind a baby girl named Brylee.

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Her aunt, Julie Basina, spoke in court on Thursday. "Brylee will never meet her mother. Her mother will never get to go to her prom, or her graduation, or see her get married or see her grandchildren. He took that away from us."

The man who has taken responsibility for causing her death, Derek Nelis, 47, apologized to the family. "Most of all I'd like to sincerely apologize to Gabrielle's family and most of all her mother. My heart goes out to her and the rest of their family. I know this has changed their lives, and it changed mine as well. I am truly sorry for all of this," he said when it was his turn to speak.

According to the defense, Nelis was driving Bressette to the Twin Ports that August night to buy drugs. The prosecution said Nelis has had a lifetime of drug and alcohol addiction.

Fritz Anderson, the defense attorney, said that Nelis has felt guilt about the crash, although his client maintains that the car malfunctioned and jerked into the other lane.

The prosecution and defense agreed on probation for the sentence, based on a variety of factors.

Judge George Glonek agreed to that sentence, although he said that a loss of life is the most serious of offenses. "It's very difficult. If the court had the ability to do justice, what should be done, is to put us all back in time, and make it so this horrible tragedy would never have occurred. And unfortunately, whatever the court does with sentencing, will not bring back the life of the decedent."

Nelis has been sentenced to five years of probation, which includes 1 year in the county jail. He does get credit for 271 days served.

After the sentencing, Bressette's family said it wasn't fair he only gets one year for her life. Loved ones of Nelis said that it's been tough on both sides.

There is a restitution hearing still coming up.




Renee Passal

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