Man gets 20 years in traffic death |

Man gets 20 years in traffic death

by Sheila Gardner

A 23-year-old California man was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison in connection with the traffic death of a young woman he called “my soulmate, the love of my life.”

Trevor Clark must serve a minimum of six years before he is eligible for parole in the death of Tracy Fein, 22. He pleaded no contest Nov. 1 to driving with a prohibited amount of controlled substance in his blood causing death stemming from the Aug. 27 accident.

He has been in Douglas County Jail on $50,000 bail.

The young couple were on their way from Simi Valley, Calif., to the Burning Man Festival when the accident occurred at 11:45 p.m. south of Gardnerville on Highway 395 near Ray May Way.

Toxicology reports indicated they had ingested marijuana and Ecstasy. The victim was asleep and not wearing a seatbelt.

Feins’ parents Steven and Ligia, her sister Jennifer, their grandmothers, cousins and other friends and family attended the sentencing which took about four hours.

The parents testified for about two hours and had prepared an extensive victim impact statement that included letters, photos and mementos of their daughter’s life.

Steven Fein cradled a teddy bear that Tracy was given at birth and now contains her ashes.

“This teddy bear is Tracy,” he said. “My wife and I sleep with the bear between us on our headboard next to her baby teeth and her first pair of shoes. I look at it all those nights when I cannot sleep,” he said.

Both Feins pleaded with District Judge Dave Gamble for the maximum sentence for Clark.

“I failed Tracy,” he told Gamble. “If we can’t successfully argue for this criminal’s 20-year sentence, I’ve failed society.

“Tracy – who smoked a little pot – was given a death sentence without the benefit of a trial,” her father said.

Ligia Fein was racked with sobs as she showed the judge her daughter’s well-loved stuffed Big Bird. She kissed Tracy’s kindergarten name tag and high school and graduation gowns that she has preserved in plastic.

She brought her daughter’s baby teeth and first pair of bronzed shoes. She displayed poster-size pictures of her daughter at stages in her life, ending with her nursing school graduation.

“We have been robbed of our dreams,” she said. “We will no longer see the sparkling beauty in her eyes, hear her gift of laughter or enjoy her enthusiasm for life.

“We have been deprived of grandchildren. We saved every one of her toys to share with our grandchildren and to tell them how precious their Mommy was.”

Clark’s lawyer, Terri Roeser, said she didn’t condone her client’s behavior or condemn Fein for not wearing her seatbelt, but she wanted to put the events in context.

“These individuals had a relationship,” Roeser said. “They were boyfriend and girlfriend. They were in love.

“Unfortunately, part of that shared interest was partying, a use of alcohol and drugs. Tracy Fein had all the same drugs in her system as Mr. Clark and at the same level. She wasn’t using just a little bit of pot.”

Gamble stopped Roeser at that point.

“What difference does the condition of the person who was killed make?” he asked.

“The issues before me are what should I do to the person who is sitting next to you for his crime.”

Clark, who sobbed during the proceedings, turned to address the Feins and their friends.

“I do want to apologize,” he said. “I do love Tracy very, very much and consider her my soulmate. It is very, very difficult to live without her. I wish I could have died in her place.”

Clark called his behavior the night of the accident “immoral” and said he was ready to go to prison.

Gamble told the defendant he was “lawless.”

“I’m having trouble comprehending the idea that someone would take somebody they love to an event where they cast off all the rules, that you would cross the entire state to be lawless for several days,” Gamble said.

“There seems to be no outside control over your life at all.”

Gamble told the Feins he valued their grief, but when they looked for malice in Clark’s actions, they dishonored their daughter’s memory.

“This is truly a tragic event,” he said. “When you step beyond that to find malice other than the stupid malice to drive while you are drugged, I think you lower yourselves and have potential harm to Tracy’s memory.”

He encouraged the Feins to come to a place of forgiveness.

“You will heal quicker in the long run by finding a way to forgive,” he said. “I hope you folks survive this.”

Steven Fein said he was satisfied that Clark received the maximum.

“It doesn’t bring Tracy back, but it keeps the streets safe and lets people know they can’t live with irresponsible behavior,” he said.

After the sentencing, the Feins planned to stop at the accident site for the first time.

“When I leave here, I am going to look for Mile Marker 12 and try to locate Ray May Way,” Steven Fein said. “I am going to look for 711 feet of skid marks that ends at a tree where we’re going to leave a bouquet of flowers for Tracy.”