Darriean Hess, 19, Charged with Negligent Homicide

The unlicensed teen driver was arrested Tuesday on four felony counts for causing a Hampton crash that claimed the lives of two cyclists.

Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook, as shown in her booking photo. [Credit: Hampton Police Department]
Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook, as shown in her booking photo. [Credit: Hampton Police Department]
By Marc Fortier and Kyle Stucker
[Story originally posted at 4:09 p.m. Tuesday. Updated at 4:32 p.m.]

A Seabrook woman was arrested Tuesday in connection with Saturday's fatal crash on the Neil R. Underwood Memorial Bridge

Darriean Hess, 19, was arrested around 3 p.m. Tuesday on Lafayette Road in Seabrook on four felony warrants issued earlier in the day. 

Hess was charged with two Class B felony counts of negligent homicide and two Class B felony counts of second-degree assault, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams and Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. 

Each of the Class B felonies is punishable by a maximum sentence of 3-1/2 to 7 years and up to $4,000 in fines. Hess was held on $50,000 cash bail, and will be arraigned at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Hampton District Court.

There may still be additional charges filed against Hess, although only the four felonies were levied Tuesday.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Reams said during Tuesday's press conference. "There are still pieces of it that we're working on. It's too early to tell if additional charges will be filed."

Reams said he couldn't comment on whether Hess was texting at the time of the crash or whether alcohol may have been involved. At this time, he said police are alleging that the causes of the crash were primarily "speed" and "inattention."

Reams declined to say how fast Hess was driving, only that her speed wasn't reasonable given the events that were taking place that day and all of the warnings that were posted. He did say her speed was "excessive" and that "the witnesses were surprised at the speed."

Hess, who doesn't have a license, was pulled over after doing 59 in a 30-mph zone while crossing north over the bridge at 12:45 a.m. Saturday, less than eight hours before police say she caused the collision that killed two cyclists and injured two others

Reams said the traffic stop "has nothing to do with the prosecution of the deaths and injuries" caused by Hess' actions during the bicycle ride later that day. He said also said it's "too early to tell" if additional individuals will be charged in connection to the fatal crash, as the vehicle Hess was driving isn't registered in her name.

"It's very hard to say," said Reams, who shares some personal thoughts on the incident in a video attached above.

Deputy Police Chief Rich Sawyer previously told Patch that Hess' vehicle "veered over into the northbound lane" for unknown reasons, struck the cyclists and "road along" various structures, curbing and sidewalk on the bridge "for a distance" before it "popped back onto the road," "crossed back over" into the southbound lane, and "hit several road signs." The vehicle came to a stop after it "decimated" the "Welcome to Seabrook Beach" sign, according to Sawyer.

One of the survivors, Margo Heigh, told WMUR she remembers seeing the car coming at her before the accident.

Ian Cox September 25, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Wait a minute. If she was pulled over without a license prior to killing those people with her car, shouldnt she have been arrested? Who is the officer who pulled her over?
Tish Di September 26, 2013 at 09:53 AM
She apparently told the officer at the first stop the she had a drivers license but she didn't have it with her. then someone else came for her and drove the 19 year old away in the car she had been driving. Eight hours later she was back driving. Absolutely ridiculous! The car should have been towed or perhaps the first cop should have ran her name thru the database to be sure she really did have a license. The accident seems so avoidable and yet two people are dead, so sad.


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