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April 23, 2013

Driver gets at least 14 years in double fatal crash

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — A Hazel Park man who pleaded guilty to murder charges after he crashed while drunk and killed two passengers in 2011 has been sent to prison for at least 14 years.  

Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski ordered Derek Curtis Brame, 26, to serve 14 to 25 years in prison April 15 after he previously pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

Police said Brame was drunk behind the wheel of a Ford F-250 truck when he lost control on westbound Eight Mile Road near Ryan in Warren and crashed into an oil change shop on Sept. 18, 2011.

The violent crash killed 21-year-old John Bommarito, of St. Clair Shores, and 26-year-old Kyle Dixon, of Clinton Township.

“Your Honor, my beautiful young son will never be on the face of this earth again, I will never see him, talk to him or be a parent to him ever again,” John Bommarito’s mother, Nancy Bommarito, said in a letter to the judge. “My Faith tells me that I will see him when I die, however I do not plan on leaving this earth for many years which means that I will continue to suffer emotionally and grieve every day for the rest of my life.

“I have been served a life sentence by this defendant and my son a death sentence,” Nancy Bommarito said.

Brame was originally arraigned on a list of charges including operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and driving with a suspended license. But Macomb County prosecutors later added charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Prosecutors and defense counsel representing Brame reached a plea agreement on Feb. 12, the day the trial was set to begin.

Defense attorney James E. Czarnecki II said previously that his client’s decision to plead guilty was a difficult one to make but that the risk of a longer prison sentence, had the case gone to trial, was a factor.

All other charges in the case — including manslaughter, driving with a suspended license, and third-offense OUIL — were dismissed as a result of the guilty plea to second-degree murder.

Warren police said Brame had prior convictions for drunken driving out of Center Line in 2010 and Shelby Township in 2008.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.