Jun 10, 2015 8:57 AM
Could the crash that killed a 19-year-old Fremont woman have been prevented? Her family says she had an addiction to heroin and they’re taking us inside the funeral home to show us the devastating impact on loved ones left behind.
For Joyce McCassie, this is unchartered territory.
“I was thinking a white casket,” Joyce tells the funeral director at Peaslee Funeral Home in Farmington.
Her daughter—19-year-old daughter Jessica McCassie—died Sunday when she crashed her grandmother’s Mazda 3 on Route 101 in Candia.
“Her car flipped over three times. She got ejected,” says Joyce. “When the medical response team got to her, she still had a needle in her arm.”
“I think she was doing it when she was driving. she did it all the time,” says Jessica’s 21-year-old sister Melissa.
Melissa can barely keep it together, as she scrolls through the pictures on her sister’s crack smartphone for the first time since the crash.
“She just was all around a good person, and I miss her very much,” says Melissa.
Melissa says they both struggled with their addiction to heroin.
As she wipes away the tears, Melissa says, “We had a talk the other day, and I was telling her all I wanted was to see her get clean and if she died, that I would lose my mind.”
Melissa says Jessica’s deadly crash — was her second crash this year.
And—in January, Jessica was arrested after she says police found her passed out in her car.
“That’s when she overdosed.”
“It makes you sad angry,” says Rachel White, Jessica’s 30-year-old cousin. “I can’t even count the number of times they had to use Narcan on her.”
The family says Jessica received Narcan nine times to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
“Narcan—it’s not the answer,” says Jessica, because it doesn’t treat addiction.
Jessica’s track record—of drug use, possession and car crashes—could have landed her in jail or court-mandated rehab.
She was arrested for driving under the influence — a Class B misdemeanor and possession of heroin — a Class B felony.
The punishments for these offenses—range from fines, to loss of license, to prison time.
She didn’t get any of them.
McCassie’s case was “dismissed without prejudice” this month, just days before her death. The reason—according to the Strafford County Attorney’s Office—failure to prosecute within 90 days.
Her family says this move wasn’t a blessing for Jessica. Rachel says she was addicted to drugs in her teen years—even spent a week in jail.
“It was my wakeup call to turn my life around.”
Her message to prosecutors: “Don’t let people slip through the cracks,” says Rachel. “There are going to be people that you’re going to save, and Jessie could have been one of them.”
As Jessica’s family selects the dress she will be wearing when she’s buried, they want to share a message with those following in her wake:
“I thought it was important to show this side, so that the kids can see what their family actually has to go through to prepare for a funeral that we are not prepared to do”
There will be a wake on Thursday at the Peaslee Funeral Home in Farmington from 5PM-7PM, followed by a vigil in Milton Beach. The family has also set up an account on gofundme.com to raise money for funeral expenses.
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