Teen Driver Charged with Causing Fatal Crash

Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook, was arrested on four felony counts Tuesday in connection to a crash that claimed the lives of two cyclists.

Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook. [CREDIT: Facebook.com]
Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook. [CREDIT: Facebook.com]
By Marc Fortier and Kyle Stucker
[Story originally posted at 4:09 p.m. Updated at 4:32 p.m. Booking photo added at 6:16 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.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Reams said. "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.

Hess is expected to be arraigned on the charges Wednesday morning in Hampton District Court. The hearing time hasn't yet been set, although Reams said it will likely occur at 11 a.m.
Rhonda Rondeau September 24, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Don't feel sorry for her either.. dumb mistake -- however -- why didn't the cops who busted her without a license and speeding impound the damn car? why the hell did they just let her get back in and drive away?
Rebecca Smith Waddell September 24, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I feel bad for all the families involved -- I don't feel as sorry for her as I do for the rest of her family, which will also pay for her recklessness, but after seeing her mug shot I do think she is feeling what she did. There is a lot of suffering that doesn't need to be happening. What I hope is that this a wake up call to others about paying attention while they drive, and respecting bicyclists right to be on the roads.
Jim Martin September 24, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Her mugshot is a far cry from the half naked pics that are all over the internet from her facebook page. She's a kid, she made a stupid decision after she was given a freebee 8 hours prior. If that was a 19 year old male would he have been given the same treatment by the cop? doubt it. I feel bad for all the families involved, even this young girl as all lives are now forever changed.
Dave blue September 25, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Her callous disregard for the law has caused so much heartache. My sympathies to all those affected by this tragedy. Sad to think her friend that came to retrieve the car at the earlier traffic stop then let her borrow it again... I imagine charges will be coming up on that one too and rightfully so... if that person hadn't given the keys back to her this chain of events would not have been set in motion.
Lorri October 06, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Cforkel.. How true!!! Bad choices, acting like she was above the law. Drugs, speeding, no license, it will ALLWAY'S catch up.


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