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Man gets 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed Chariho senior

South County
Man gets 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed Chariho senior

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A man accused of causing a drunk-driving crash that killed his high school girlfriend and injured two friends admitted to DUI charges on Monday and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Scott Gavitt was 18 at the time of the deadly crash in Exeter back in 2016. Heidi Malstrom, 17, was killed in the crash.

Gavitt, now 21, pleaded no contest to DUI death resulting, DUI causing serious injury, and DUI causing personal injury. Three counts of driving to endanger were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. 

“Heidi was my only child, the love of my life, my everything,” Malstrom’s mother Lori Chapman said in court Monday. “My heart is broken, my life is empty. Heidi was my reason for living. I miss her every second of every day.”

She asked the judge to sentence Gavitt to a “full punishment for taking an innocent life.”

“I will never see her graduate from college, someday marry, or know the joy of having a grandchild,” Chapman added.

Dana Millar, the father of surviving victim Cameron Millar, also spoke before the sentencing, describing two years of difficult recovery and multiple leg surgeries for his son.

“It seems like the defendant has become the victim,” Millar lamented, expressing hope that the sentencing would cause the victims’ families to be “set free.”

Gavitt chose not to address the court before the sentencing. His attorney, Joseph Dwyer, said he was too “fragile.”

“I just wanted to respond to the notion that the defendant has become a victim in this case,” Dwyer said. “He doesn’t feel as though he’s a victim at all. He made a huge mistake that day.”

He also spoke of Gavitt’s time as a volunteer firefighter, earning an award in 2012 from the Red Cross for saving a person from a burning car. Dwyer told the judge he didn’t expect Gavitt to reoffend.

Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg sentenced Gavitt to concurrent sentences for each count, totaling 10 years at the ACI. Gavitt will be on probation upon his release and will not be able to get a driver’s license for five years. He was also ordered to go to alcohol counseling and complete community service. 

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