Former Manchester Police Officer David Connare appologizes to victim Heather O'Regan of Hudson at his sentencing at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester on Thursday. (David Lane/Union Leader)
MANCHESTER — Former Manchester Police Officer David Connare, convicted of reckless conduct for crashing his car at high speed into the rear of a Hudson woman's car on Interstate 93 a year ago, was sentenced Thursday in Hillsborough County Superior Court North to a year in the Hillsborough County House of Corrections, with six months suspended for good behavior.
Judge Kenneth Brown also recommended work release and administrative home confinement for the 47-year-old Connare, which means he may spend little time in jail.
A jury in August found Connare innocent of second-degree assault and vehicular assault. Brown ruled the prosecution had not proved a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.
On Thursday, Brown told Connare, "You should have known better." The judge also said a loss of license would be appropriate but that was not in his control.
Connare's attorney, Eric Wilson, had sought a complete deferral of a one-year sentence to be followed by suspension for two years. Wilson said: "He's never shied away from responsibility."
Connare, who resigned as a police officer and head of the patrolmen's union after the Oct. 16, 2012, incident, was ordered to report to the House of Corrections at 9 a.m. Friday, but Assistant Merrimack County Attorney George Waldron said Connare could be approved for work release and back home the same day.
Waldron, the special prosecutor appointed to avoid any conflict of interest, had recommended a one-year sentence.
Connare was originally charged with drunken driving and assault in connection with the high-speed crash that sent Heather O'Regan's car off the road and into a bridge abutment.
The judge said the issue of restitution still has not be settled, although O'Regan said she did receive a check in June that enabled her to purchase a new vehicle.
Connare said he had wanted to apologize to O'Regan immediately but couldn't.
"She was angry, and I understand that," he said.
"I am truly sorry," he said, adding that normally he wants and tries to help people. "That's the kind of person I am."
"I deserve to be punished," he said, but added that he "lost a career that I love."
"I lost everything," he said.
A 21-year police veteran, Connare is eligible to draw a pension estimated at nearly $37,000 a year.
After the sentencing, O'Regan said she was appreciative of the work done by the prosecution and the court. She also said, "I'll be checking my rearview mirror more often."
The class B felony could have resulted in a sentence of 3½ to seven years, with a fine of up to $4,000.
Connare will be on probation for one year once he finishes serving his sentence.