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Ex-EMT sentenced to two to six years in friend’s death in Loudon

  • Tyler Dempsey, 23, of Loudon was sentenced to two to six years in prison after pleading guilty in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Dec. 16, 2019, to negligent homicide in the death of his friend earlier this year. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Tyler Dempsey, 23, of Loudon was sentenced to two to six years in prison after pleading guilty in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Dec. 16, 2019, to negligent homicide in the death of his friend earlier this year. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Tyler Dempsey

Monitor staff
Published: 12/16/2019 6:57:32 PM

Tyler Dempsey hoped his best friend from elementary school could hear him.

As he closed his eyes and tried to hold back tears, Dempsey apologized Monday to his late friend, Ryan Christie, and told Christie that he loved him.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you,” Dempsey, 23, of Loudon said from behind the defense table during his plea and sentencing hearing in Merrimack County Superior Court. “I’m sorry that you had to pay for my mistakes. I will continue to look to you for guidance for the remainder of my life.”

As Dempsey pleaded guilty to a felony charge of negligent homicide for causing a rollover crash that killed Christie in June, he told the court that he, too, wanted justice for the victim and the Christie family.

Dempsey, who worked as a part-time EMT and firefighter for the Loudon Fire Department, had been driving 75 mph in a 30 mph zone on the night of June 16 when Christie was killed on Bee Hole Road in the town. He was the first person to attempt to render Christie aid and the first to unofficially pronounce Christie dead.

“It is difficult to express and articulate the significance Ryan had in my life, and the great void that’s been left in his wake,” Dempsey said.

“I’m committed to serve the time that’s deemed necessary with the hope to sometime re-enter the world,” he continued.

That time is two-to-six years at a New Hampshire correctional facility. The victim’s family, attorneys on both sides and the judge were unanimous in their opinion that Dempsey not be transferred to a state prison but remain at the Merrimack County jail in Boscawan, where he has been incarcerated since voluntarily giving up his freedom in October.

Under state law, defendants who are sentenced to more than one year in jail traditionally serve out that sentence in prison. But Judge Richard McNamara said Monday that Dempsey is not suited for prison. If there is an issue with Dempsey staying at the jail, McNamara said he will strongly consider modifying the imposed sentence.

While Dempsey had agreed to plead guilty to negligent homicide, a Class B felony, for speeding before the crash that killed Christie, attorneys made separate sentencing recommendations to the court. The defense asked for a one-year jail sentence with three years of probation, but prosecutors asked for a two- to six-year sentence on the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison.

McNamara told Dempsey that he believed prosecutors’ recommendation is most appropriate given the serious nature of the crime, which ended a man’s life.

“Mr. Dempsey, you have your whole life ahead of you,” McNamara said. “This is something that has to happen. I wish I didn’t have to sentence you to this sentence. It is my duty.”

In her tearful address to the court, Christie’s mother, Cynthia Christie, asked for leniency for Dempsey, who she said is already suffering from the loss of a best friend. She said prison time will not serve justice.

“When they went out that night, none of them had intended it to end in a crash,” Cynthia Christie said. “We have all suffered due to the accident that changed all of our lives.”

Dempsey, Christie and Leandra Jimmo – a backseat passenger – had gone out for drinks together at TGI Fridays on Loudon Road and Tandy’s Pub on Eagle Square in Concord and were on their way home about 10:50 p.m. when Dempsey lost control of the truck near 68 Bee Hole Road, police said at the time. Dempsey was attempting to turn left when the truck veered off the roadway, struck a tree on the passenger’s side and rolled over.

Dempsey failed field sobriety tests at the crash scene and was arrested.

Cynthia Christie recalled in court Monday law enforcement officers showing up at her home in the early-morning hours of June 17 to share the tragic news that her son had been killed.

“I’ve been asked if I forgive Tyler, and I struggle with how to respond,” she said. “I never blamed Tyler so in my mind there isn’t anything to forgive.”

The Merrimack County Attorney’s Office had recommended that Dempsey lose his license for seven years but that time period was reduced Monday based on input Assistant County Attorney Carley Ahern received from the Christie family. Dempsey must also have an interlock device – that requires a breath sample before a car will start – installed in his car for two years.

“The two individuals are lifelong friends and the state recognizes how hard this is for the defendant,” Ahern said.

McNamara concurred, saying that Dempsey’s remorse for his actions is profound. He said that the Christies’ ability to attend the hearing and speak so eloquently about their son’s relationship with Dempsey “is extraordinary.”

In handing down the sentence, he revisited Cynthia Christie’s message: There were two families struck by tragedy that day and each one continues to grieve and heal in their own way and time.




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