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(Tribune News Service) — As his mother wept from her seat in the courtroom, 4-year-old Damien Temores tried to console her.

The dark-haired preschooler stood in front of her, talking to her quietly, and holding onto her while other family members told a judge about the devastating loss they suffered when Damien’s father was killed in a 2019 crash at Joint Expeditionary Little Creek-Fort Story.

Damien was just 2 when his father, 23-year-old Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Oscar Temores, died.

The crash occurred at the base around 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30. Temores was working as a sentry when he heard a radio call about a pickup speeding the wrong way through the gates. Temores got into his cruiser and was responding to the area when the truck hit his vehicle head-on.

The driver, Nathaniel Lee Campbell, of Shenandoah, was going 79 mph at the time of impact, according to prosecutors. Temores died at a hospital a short time later. Campbell was hospitalized and had part of his right leg amputated.

Virginia Beach Circuit Judge Kevin Duffan sentenced Campbell to 10 years in prison. It was the maximum allowed under the law. Sentencing guidelines had suggested Campbell, now 41, only get probation, which Duffan called “completely inappropriate.”

Three of Temores’ family members and a friend who was working with him that night gave highly emotional testimony during Campbell’s sentencing hearing Tuesday. They described Temores as a hardworking man who was proud to be in the Navy and dedicated to his family, especially his young son.

Campbell pleaded guilty in December to involuntary manslaughter, which prosecutors said was the highest count he could face.

To be able to charge him with aggravated involuntary manslaughter — which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison — there would have had to be another factor other than excessive speed involved in the crash, said Macie Allen, spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach commonwealth’s attorney’s office. Tests showed Campbell had no alcohol or drugs in his system, and none were found in his vehicle or the motel room where he was staying.

Temores was looking forward to an upcoming trip home to California to see his family and was talking about it with his friend and colleague, Andrew Crum, when he got the call about the truck, Crum testified.

“I yelled to him, ‘Go get ‘em, and be safe,’” Crum said. Not long after, Crum heard there had been a crash and raced out to see what happened. He found Temores in his cruiser, still alive but gravely injured.

“I started to talk to him and to tell him that I was there for him,” Crum said as he fought back tears. “All he could say was that he didn’t want to die and he wanted to talk to his family. … He looked me in the eyes and he told me to tell his mom, his wife and his son, he loved them.’”

Those were the last words Crum said he heard from his friend.

Campbell’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kimberly Smith, told the judge Campbell has struggled to explain what he was thinking that night.

He’d recently come to Virginia Beach and was staying at a motel when he “reached out” to a woman he knew and asked her if she wanted to get married, Smith said. The woman was in Chicago and had “no intention” of marrying him, the defense lawyer said.

After the rejected proposal, Campbell decided to head to a strip club and got confused on how to get there. He didn’t have his phone with him and there was no GPS in his truck.

“He felt out of control that night,” Smith said. “He remembers speeding but he doesn’t remember much more than that.”

Campbell never intended to hurt anyone, she said. “There was something else going on that night,” Smith said. “I’m not really sure what.”

Campbell spoke briefly to the court before the sentence was handed down, much of it inaudible. He apologized to the Temores family and said he wished he “could take it back.”

jane.harper@pilotonline.com

©2022 The Virginian-Pilot.

Visit pilotonline.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(Wikicommons)


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