September 4, 2013

Probation term in 2012 fatal accident


---- — MALONE — A Brushton man was sentenced Tuesday to probation for the August 2012 death of his best friend; the victim's parents had wanted him spared from jail.

Justin C. Supernault, 22, of Brushton pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated in the Aug. 4, 2012, death of Cody D. O’Connor, 21, of Moira.

County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. sentenced him to five years probation on the negligent-homicide charge and a concurrent three-year term of probation for misdemeanor DWI, said District Attorney Derek Champagne.


“This was a case that, for the first time in my 15½ years, the victim’s family did not want the case prosecuted,” he said.

“I explained to them that, for this type of incident, we cannot let the death go unpunished, but I took into account their wishes, giving it more magnitude and consideration — more so than in any other case.

“What we came down to was they didn’t want to see this destroy their son’s best friend’s life even though it destroyed their son’s life,” the DA said.


The accident happened at about 4:05 a.m. on County Route 8 in the Town of Bangor.

Malone-based State Police said O’Connor was driving west ahead of Supernault and lost control of his vehicle on a slight curve. The car went off the road and struck an earthen embankment.

Supernault came around the same corner, lost control of his vehicle, left the road and struck the same embankment, but his vehicle continued on and rolled over the top of O’Connor’s wrecked car, police said.

O’Connor was pronounced dead at the accident site.

Supernault was taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone with multiple facial fractures and was then transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.


“This was a unique case because of the death of the victim was part of his own actions, and the two crashes happened in the exact same spot that led to the death of Cody,” Champagne said.

“Justin has been cooperative and remorseful every step of the way, and rather than saying, ‘How can I get out of it?’ he’s been saying, ‘How can I accept responsibility for the death of my best friend?’

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 15½ years. We had to look at how he could be held accountable but fashion it in a way that he takes responsibility for the death of the victim and we fulfill the family’s wishes as well.”


Supernault pleaded guilty to a Superior Court Information rather than a formal grand-jury indictment.

His license was revoked, and he was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Email Denise A.