NEWPORT CITY – John Matten, 78, sat quietly in a wheelchair yesterday as Judge Howard VanBenthuysen handed down a three-year deferred sentence. Prior to sentencing, Matten entered a guilty plea to gross and negligent operation with fatality resulting. Matten was the driver of a motor vehicle that struck and killed Zachariah Brown, a flagger at a road construction site on VT RT 14 in Newport Center. The accident occurred Aug. 13, 2010. Matten’s record, if he complies with the conditions during the sentence, will be wiped clean. Matten could have faced up to 15 years or a $15,000 fine or both. Matten will be nearly 81 by the time his sentence is over. Before and after the accident, Matten has been in ill health, Orleans County State’s Attorney Alan Franklin said.Matten was driving east on Route 14 when something on the side of the road distracted him. When he looked back, he saw Brown running for the side of the road. Matten tried to swerve but the front end of his truck struck Brown. A medical examiner's autopsy concluded that Brown died as a result of the accident.For more on this story, read the Newport Daily Express for Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.