28 year old Dustin Fredrick Brown has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of causing a fatal crash on Memorial Day in downtown Bellingham in 2014. Dragan Skrobonja was run over by Brown’s Ford F-350 pickup truck on the sidewalk of East Chestnut Street.
The victim’s family pleaded with Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder to hand out the maximum sentence to the defendant. Following the trial, according to Bellingham WA DUI attorneys, Brown received the highest punishment for vehicular homicide in Whatcom County.
A horrific drunk driving accident
Brown is said to have caused one of the most horrific drunk driving accidents after drinking at the Up & Up before the crash. This was the Ski to Sea weekend, Bellingham’s signature sporting event. He is said to have sent messages to friends stating that he was too drunk to drive. However, no one made the effort to offer to pick him up.
Should people like Brown ever be forgiven?
According to a witness, Jeremy Evans, Brown drank more at another bar where he was found to be in an inebriated state spilling beer all over. Several people including a policeman heard Brown revving the engine of his black Ford F-350 near the Old World Deli at 1am. His vehicle fishtailed from one side of the road to the other and went over onto the sidewalk of a parking lot of a home improvement store on North State Street, striking three men who were later treated at St. Joseph hospital.
Brave witness stops drunk driver’s deadly run
37 year old Skrobonja was his next victim at the corner of State and Chestnut. He was dragged by the pickup truck onto the street and succumbed to injuries not instantly but at the scene. However, Brown continued his deadly run and collided with a Toyota 4Runner. According to witnesses, he reversed his pickup and almost ran over Skrobonja once more. It was the brave effort of a witness, Tyler Dixon, who got Brown to stop by jumping onto the pickup and punching him through the window until he passed out.
Brown lied to police about how much he drank and even contradicted himself. Toxicology reports indicated Brown’s blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit at 0.23, hours after the crash. Jordan Klein, Skrobonja’s brother-in-law and an attorney too, told the judge at the sentencing that Brown was obviously completely intoxicated.
He did not find Brown to have done a single redeeming act that night. This was despite knowing his condition which was evident from the text messages to his friends. In his defense, Brown alleged that his truck had mechanical problems. However, that was proved false by mechanics.
Skrobonja’s family had migrated to the United States during the Bosnian war. His sister, Snezana Klein, is also an attorney. She said her parents had given up everything to allow Dragan to have a better future. While his parents were a history professor and an accountant, they worked as custodians at a McDonald’s restaurant.
The family has been residing in Bellingham for the past two decades and is now left only with memories of their son who lost his life to an irresponsible driver. While Brown had multiple charges against him, he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. Four other charges were dropped following a plea bargain.
Many people believe it is a shame that people like Brown do not care about other human beings.