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Madison man blamed for fatal ATV accident


June 24, 2010
OSSIPEE — A Madison man, whom Terri Dearborn blames for death of her son, was sent to jail on Monday for providing alcohol to minors. Dearborn's son, Jason Phair, was killed in an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) accident last year. At the time, police said alcohol and speed might have been contributing factors.

Last week in Southern Carroll County District Court, Stephan LaFontaine, 22, of Madison, pleaded guilty to prohibited sales (providing liquor to someone under 21 years old) in Freedom on Aug. 23, the day before Phair, 19, of Conway, died.

LaFontaine was given a 12-month sentence to the house of corrections with all but 30 days deferred for two years. Further, he must appear in court to show why the deferred sentence shouldn't be imposed or should be suspended for one year thereafter.

His jail sentence was to begin on Monday, June 21 at 9 a.m. As conditions of the deferral, LaFontaine must maintain good behavior for two years and he must also "cooperate with the state and provide truthful information and testimony in all matters relating to the events of Aug. 23 and 24, 2009 and events preceding the death of Jason Phair," wrote Judge Robert C. Varney.

In addition, LaFontaine was placed on probation for two years, during which time he must attend substance abuse treatment as recommended by his probation officer as well as continuing with mental health treatment.

Dearborn wrote that she blames LaFontaine for her son's death in a one-page hand-written statement that was included in LaFontaine's court file. The letter was dated June 17.

"I wish that Mr. LaFontaine had taken responsibility for his actions that night," wrote Dearborn. "If he had, I truly believe our son would be with us today."

She laments that the family will never see him grow up, get married, or have children. All they are left with is memories, she wrote.

"We hope that during Mr. LaFontaine's incarceration that he will have time to reflect about his actions and the pain he has caused," Dearborn wrote.

Phair was attending a party at the Steeves residence on Durgin Hill Road with his girlfriend and several other guests, most younger than 21. The homeowners, Garrick and Carrie Steeves, were away camping locally at the time. Phair left the party for a ride on the ATV, lost control of the machine and hit a tree about 200 yards from the house.

A 911 call was never placed from the house. The girlfriend called her parents in Conway and they drove to Freedom to pick up Phair in an attempt to get him medical attention.

Last year, Jennifer Phair said she believes her cousin would still be alive if those at the party, including a 30-year-old, had immediately called for help instead of hindering his girlfriend's attempts to call for help, including taking her cell phone away.

Jason Phair was pronounced dead at 3:03 a.m. at Memorial Hospital in Conway on Aug. 24, 2009.

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