A Rhode Island man will spend at least six years in prison for a wrong-way, drunk driving crash on Interstate 495 in Mansfield that killed a woman in 2022, Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced Tuesday.
Gonsahn Kamara, 37, of Pawtucket, pleaded guilty this month to charges of manslaughter while operating under the influence, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and operating under the influence second offense, and was sentenced to six to nine years in state prison, according to Quinn’s office.
Kamara received a sentence of six to nine years for causing the death of Kerrie Dolbashian of Bridgewater, a 31-year-old nurse who was driving to work early on the morning of May 7, 2022 when an SUV driven by Kamara crashed into her vehicle, the statement said.
“This is yet another example of a drunken defendant driving on the wrong side of a major highway, killing an innocent woman who was on her way to work as a nurse to help people. The defendant’s conduct is aggravated by the fact that he had previously been convicted for drunken driving,” Quinn said.
At 2:43 a.m., police received their first report of a silver SUV driving erratically on Interstate 95 north. Moments later, police received three more 911 calls reporting the vehicle had begun driving on the wrong side of the road on I-495, according to Quinn’s office.
At 2:50 a.m., State Police were notified of a serious crash on I- 495 in Mansfield. Upon arrival, they found Dolbashian, unresponsive in her Toyota Camry. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Quinn’s office.
She had been traveling to work as a nurse at Miriam Hospital in Providence Rhode Island and was covering a co-worker’s shift.
Kamara was found at the scene trapped in his vehicle and was extracted by fire fighters and EMS with the jaws of life. After he was removed from his vehicle, he was transported via helicopter to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for medical treatment.
While at the hospital, Kamara’s blood alcohol content registered at .18, which is more than double the legal limit, according to Quinn’s office.
An investigation into the collision found that Kamara’s headlights were off, and he did not attempt to avoid Dolbashian’s car before impact.
More than 20 family members and friends were present for the plea, six of whom gave victim impact statements to the judge prior to sentencing, according to Quinn’s office.
“This senseless tragedy will impact the victim’s family and friends for the rest of their lives. If someone is too drunk to drive, there are other options to get home other than driving drunk and endangering the lives of other people,” said Quinn.
Grace Gilson can be reached at email@example.com.