Police: Driver At Fault for Accident that Kills 2 Bikers

Two Mass. women were killed in Hampton Saturday after a Seabrook driver crossed the Route 1A bridge's center lane and struck four bicyclists.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
[Story originally posted at 4:29 p.m. Updated at 5:02 p.m.]

Hampton police have determined that the fatal accident that claimed the lives of two cyclists on the Neil R. Underwood Memorial Bridge on Saturday was caused by the driver of a vehicle that crossed over the center line and struck four bicyclists.

Deputy Police Chief Rich Sawyer told Patch that a vehicle operated by Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook, was traveling southbound over the bridge on Route 1A when for unknown reasons her vehicle "veered over into the northbound lane" around 8:30 a.m. and struck four bicyclists who were riding north over the bridge as part of a non-competitive riding event.

After striking the cyclists, Sawyer said Hess' vehicle "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.

No charges were issued as of Saturday afternoon, as police are still "collecting evidence" and conducting interviews with witnesses at the scene, according to Sawyer. 

"The reason she crossed over is something we still haven't determined," said Sawyer.

Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, Mass., and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, Mass., were pronounced dead at Exeter and Portsmouth Regional hospitals, respectfully, after sustaining serious injuries in the crash.

Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, Mass., and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers, Mass., were hospitalized at Portsmouth Regional and Anna Jaques hospitals, respectively, with non-life-threatening injuries sustained in the crash. 

Hess was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital for "minor injuries," according to Sawyer.

The cyclists were participating in the 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century Ride, which started at Hampton's South Beach at 7 a.m. and continued through the Seacoast area. 

Sawyer said bicycle traffic was "heavy all morning" and "heavier than vehicle traffic" due to the event. Sawyer said he saw "quite a few [bicyclists] going both ways" over the bridge not long before the crash. 

Local police often receive complaints from motorists about bicycles riding two- or three-abrest on Seacoast roads, and police often receive complaints from bicyclists about motorists not using caution and not sharing the roadway, according to Sawyer.

Neither of those scenarios played a role in Saturday's crash, however.

"While I understand people get upset [because of those scenarios]... we don’t have any indication that has any relevance to this accident today," said Sawyer, who said his department is working to determine whether the bicyclists were riding in a single-file line or another formation. "[The bicyclists' riding patten] really is not a relevant fact other than that we’re trying to place where the bicycles were when the vehicle struck them."

The bridge and a surrounding portion of Ocean Boulevard/Route 1A was closed until 2 p.m. Saturday due to the accident. Traffic was detoured around the area using neighboring streets during that time.

A bicyclist participating in the same event reportedly suffered injuries Saturday morning during a crash in Rye, although details about that incident weren't immediately available. Sawyer said no other calls involving bicyclists were reported Saturday morning.

Numerous agencies provided assistance during the incident, including the Hampton, North Hampton, Seabrook and Rye fire departments, as well as the Seabrook Police Department and the New Hampshire State Police.
Alvaro Bastidas September 22, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Watch this 30 sec PSA, It will make you re-think your opinion and change your perception. Share it with others. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=159434654251232&set=vb.184885218237888&type=2&theater
Steven Keane September 22, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Her Facebook Page is removed it was loaded with her selfies while driving...And pics of pure self absorption!
the one September 22, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Well... I think The Truth Commission is an ignorant prick that cant seem to get his facts straight! There was no evidence to support your claim, if there was then she would have been aressted and charged. Whats pathetic is how you could be so quick and rude to judge. As devastating as it is to the familys that have lossed there love ones it is just as equal if not more traumatic to darriean that now carries this horrific burden on her back, an has to live with this for the rest of her life.
Bryan Provencal September 22, 2013 at 10:48 PM
The Truth Commission+ === John Merrill, shut your mouth, your so smart from your mothers basement ...
David Hall September 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM
>> Sawyer said Hess' vehicle "road along" various structures RODE along, not "road" along. Good grief.
Lorri September 23, 2013 at 03:22 AM
"THE ONE" How could you say Hess is MORE traumatized Over this, are you crazy or just stupid?
Adam Ritscher September 23, 2013 at 09:46 AM
For the record, I was riding in the event, and it was overcast and with no fog when the accident happened. She had also just passed a copy standing in the middle of the road before the bridge directing traffic and several large signs asking bikes and cars to share the road for the event.
Mundus Gubernavi September 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM
You'll never see me with 2 wheels on the open road.
Mundus Gubernavi September 23, 2013 at 12:30 PM
People do not respect the Yellow line. The id10ts cross it for a bump in the road.
the one September 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM
She is a 19 year old that has to deal with this for the rest of her life u fool "none" from the morning she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed. You think shes happy about this NNNOOOO IM PRETTY DAMN SURE SHE DIDNT GO OUT THAT MORNING AND SAY HEY IM GOING TO GO HIT TWO DAMN PEOPLE AND WOUND TWO OTHERS!!!! IT WAS FREAK ACCEDENT, THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF BICYCLIST ON THAT BEACH!!
Richard Rosenthal September 23, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Michael Dobens and “the one” minimize this and the driver's responsibility by characterizing it as just an accident. No, this was not an accident. Of course the driver didn’t deliberatey kill and injure the killed and injured. But there is a third course between intended and accident. I don’t have a word for it, but it was not an accident. An accident is unavoidable. This was not unavoidable.
Chelsee Knowles September 23, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Her facebook page had no pictures of her taking selfies while driving. The onl picture of her driving was taken by someone else, you idiot. She took her facebook down because you shit bags were messaging her and harassing her. Do any of you even know her, or are you all random pricks who like to sit on your asses and talk shit about a 19-year-old who got into a traumatizing accident and go out of your way to make her feel like shit? You're pathetic. Go bac to your boring lives and stop stalking her like the creeps you are.
the one September 23, 2013 at 03:48 PM
I know it!
Tony Guy September 23, 2013 at 04:00 PM
The town and PD can expect to be named in subsequent lawsuits for allowing an individual, who was stopped for speeding and driving without a license, and proven to be irresponsible and untrustworthy, to retain possession of the keys, in lieu of holding the keys until a driver with a valid license came to move the vehicle Total negligence on the part of the PD / Officer and a critical link in the chain of events which lead to this accident.
Tony Guy September 23, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Michael Dobbins - This was not an accident. This could have been totally prevented. Using the word accident is only a way to minimize blame and accepting responsibility.
Niles Aronson September 23, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Attractive women getting away with murder? Never, not in America. Who wants to take a bet? I bet she will leave the country and not show up for her court dates. She should have been arrested on site and charged with vehicular homicide. This accident could have been avoided if they would have arrested her earlier when she was pulled over for speeding in the EXACT SAME SPOT as the accident! WTF!
Kyle Stucker (Editor) September 23, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I would politely ask that you be careful with speculation about the circumstances surrounding the crash, as a lot of things haven't been confirmed or ruled out. Also, from my experience, police don't typically issue charges for incidents like this until the investigation has been sufficiently completed.
sad September 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Teenagers+Cars=risky; Risky+Drugs=deadly; Adults must do better by their young. We all must accept responsibility for our actions & our non-actions. This girl's snowballed into a horrific action and she suffers. Tragically. It pales in contrast to the suffering family members, friends & colleagues - of 2 loving individuals - must now endure. I mourn for their senseless loss. This stupid-stupid-stupid (I say this with as much compassion as I can muster) girl, and those who care about her,actually have a chance at redemption. through service, honesty and acceptance. We all, sometimes, get lost between the cracks....
Louanna Goodwill September 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM
I cant believe how bored you must be to attack this poor girl when you do not have ur facts strait, I am her roommate her friend and until you are in her shoes you know nothing. ur petty remarks are juvenile, and lies and you need to make a bad situation worse is pathetic. it is a sad situation that needs to be dealt with with sensitivity for all parties involved. so may I kindly ask that you take your bullshit stories, and assumptions and shove it up your ass, u argent useless piece of shit. now go hug your loved ones if u even have any which is what I did after I heard of this unfortunate incident, because life is to short. and I hope someday you feel a quarter of the pain Darriean feels every time she wakes up in the morning.
Louanna Goodwill September 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM
lawrencius fine September 24, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I agree with the cautions about innuendo, But I'm confused about a couple things that should be easily verified. Did she or did she not have a cell phone. Are the police misinforming us when they say they confiscated one?
lawrencius fine September 24, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Also, is this her sister/guardian mention from June 2012 news or someone else...Cassandra Clifton, 28, Seabrook; driving after license suspension, filed without finding; driving without a valid license, guilty, $100 fine, suspended (Seabrook).
too2blonde September 30, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Please , get off your soapboxes . I bet every single one of you drove like reckless idiots when you were 19 only it was so long ago bikes weren't allowed to take over the roads like they do today. You all drove home drunk a time or three. So spare us with the holier than thou attitudes. I don't think they ( bikers ) should even be allowed on the streets with cars. It is way too dangerous. People don't even respect Motorcycles , why would a mountain bike or road bike be any different? Let the Police handle the investigation , that is why we have a justice system so that uneducated (YEAH I SAID IT ) bitter , ugly , and desperately lonely people such as yourselves don't get involved.
too2blonde September 30, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Don't " politely ask ' Mr Editor , just tell them to Shut the F*ck up with all their assumptions or you'll remove their posts!
Tony Guy September 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM
"too2blonde and not so smart" Bicycles are responsible for the first paved roads. Bicyclists were the first to organize rules of the road. Bicycles, pedestrians, horses, carriages and trolleys all shared the road before the automobile industry and marketing forced all others from the roadway. The Supreme court has ruled that citizens, regardless of their choice of conveyance, have a right to use the roadway. Do not project your apparent custom of reckless and irresponsible behavior of the rest of us.
Lorri September 30, 2013 at 01:39 PM
"The ONE" tell me how that was a FREAK accident??? She didn't have to take the drugs nor did she have to take the car or speed!!!! She sure didn't give a sh@t about the safety of anyone's life then did she???? She was arrogant & thought she was above the law but she's NOT!!!
Kthompson812 October 01, 2013 at 10:14 AM
I think Lawrencius Fine posts an interesting question, is the above mention a relative? Does the whole family somehow think it is OK to drive without a license? Do they have relatives in local government or something?
lawrencius fine October 04, 2013 at 01:16 PM
could use a good blonde joke right about now. You know, cuz I'm bitter, ugly AND desparately lonely :), BUT I'm not facing jail
lawrencius fine October 04, 2013 at 01:19 PM
AND was it me, or was her sister laughing or crying that day in front of the court house during the tv interview? p.s. I WAS a moron when I was that age but I was always willing to accept responsibility for my actions. Because that's how I was bought up, sis
lawrencius fine October 04, 2013 at 01:22 PM


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