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Nine-Time Drunken Driver Sentenced In Traffic Death

July 25, 1988

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ A man with nine drunken driving convictions was sentenced to the maximum term Monday for causing a head-on collision in which a woman was killed four months before she was to be married.

Norman Routhier, 44, of Tyngsboro, Mass., pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the March 1987 death of Sandra Sant, 24, of Dunstable, Mass.

Prosecutor Robert Walsh asked for and got the maximum sentence - 3 1/2 to seven years in prison - arguing that Routhier had ″a total disregard for the safety of others″ and ″nothing else would keep Norman Routhier off the road.″

Superior Court Judge Linda Dalianis also gave Routhier a consecutive 12- month sentence for a lesser offense, but credit for time served already and for good behavior while in jail essentially wipes it out.

Walsh’s sentencing memorandum said Routhier had been drinking at the Moose Lodge in Nashua starting at 11:30 a.m. on March 10 and was ″shut off″ by the bartender at 5 p.m. when he was visibly drunk, singing and dancing.

Routhier repeatedly refused offers for a ride home, Walsh wrote, and drove down a highway where he hit two cars before colliding head-on with Sant’s car.

Sant died in the hospital the next day.

Authorities said Routhier’s blood-alcohol level was 0.29 percent, nearly three times the legal standard for drunkenness in New Hampshire.

At the time, Routhier had six drunken-driving convictions in New Hampshire, one pending that later was dismissed, and three convictions in Massachusetts, according to officials in the two states. He had lost his driving privileges in New Hampshire for five years in 1985, but had a Massachusetts license.

Routhier said nothing at the sentencing hearing except that he understood the sentence.

″He’d rather be dead,″ said his lawyer, Brian O’Connor. ″He’d rather have died that night than take the life of Sandra Sant.″

Sant and Kevin Olds of Tyngsboro, Mass., were to have been married in July 1987.

″Sandy was buried in her beautiful wedding dress that she was so excited about and the flowers that should have attended her wedding lined her coffin,″ her weeping mother, Nadine Chadwick of Logan, Utah, testified before the sentencing.

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