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Probable Cause Found for Hampton Woman Who Gave Hess Drugs, Car

Hampton Police evidence recovered from Sheppard's apartment included opened fentanyl packets and that Sheppard allowed Hess to have her car keys.

Cindy Sheppard of Hampton appears in Seabrook District Court on Wednesday for her probable cause hearing. Credit: Robert Cook
Cindy Sheppard of Hampton appears in Seabrook District Court on Wednesday for her probable cause hearing. Credit: Robert Cook
The case of a Hampton woman who police say gave unlicensed teen driver Darriean Hess a controlled drug before allowing Hess to use the car that Hess operated while causing a crash that killed two cyclists will now head to superior court after probable cause was found Wednesday afternoon.

Cindy Sheppard, 48, of 51 Ocean Blvd., appeared in Seabrook District Court on Wednesday dressed in an orange Rockingham County Jail prison suit with her defense lawyer, Attorney Neil Reardon of Hampstead. She is charged with  one felony count of sale of a controlled or narcotic drug and with allowing an improper person to operate a motor vehicle, a violation-level offense.

Police allege that Sheppard Police gave Hess a narcotic pain killer called fentanyl not long before Hess caused Saturday's fatal crash.

Hampton Police Det. Christopher Gilroy testified that police found evidence in Sheppard's apartment that included open fentanyl patches and Hess' non-driver's license identification card. He also testified that Hess told police that Sheppard provided her with the narcotic drug.

During his cross examination of Gilroy, Reardon said that Hess may have stolen the fentanyl from Sheppard in the hours leading up to the accident that killed the two bicyclists. He also asked Gilroy if police knew if Hess was impaired or under the influence of fentanyl when they interviewed her.

Gilroy said he could not say if Hess was impaired because she was interviewed by another Hampton Police officer. Reardon also questioned Gilroy whether police knew whether Sheppard allowed Hess to driver her car and actually gave her the keys or if Hess took Sheppard's car keys and vehicle without Sheppard's permission.

When Reardon asked what basis the Hampton Police had to execute a search warrant for Sheppard's apartment, Judge Mark Weaver said it was not a relevant question given the nature of Wednesday's legal proceedings. "This is a probable cause hearing, not a trial," he said.

Hampton Police Det. Sgt. Steven Champey testified that when he interviewed Hess following the accident, he said Hess consented to talk with him. Champey said that Hess spent the night at Sheppard's home after she had been pulled over by Hampton Police and the car had been turned over to Sheppard when police saw that Hess did not have a driver's license.

Champey also testified that Hess told police she took some fentanyl to relax at Sheppard's apartment that Sheppard applied to Hess' finger.

"How do you know that Miss Hess didn't steal the fentanyl?" Reardon asked Champey. He replied there was nothing in Hess' statement to police that would suggest that.

Reardon also asked Champey if he knew if Hess was impaired when she was interviewed. Champey replied police are still waiting for the toxicology samples to come back from the State Police Crime Lab to determine that.

Judge Mark Weaver ruled there was sufficient probable cause to forward Sheppard's case to a Rockingham County Grand Jury for possible indictment and continued her bail.

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