Still No Charges for License-less Driver Who Caused Fatal Crash

Police say there "are developments" in the case against Darriean Hess, who was stopped for speeding and driving without a license shortly before the crash.

Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook. [CREDIT: Facebook.com]
Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook. [CREDIT: Facebook.com]

[Original story posted at 4:23 p.m. Update posted at 4:51 p.m.]

Charges still haven't been filed for the Seabrook woman who caused a crash that killed two cyclists on a Hampton bridge Saturday, although police have released information stating the woman was cited for speeding and driving without a license roughly eight hours before the crash.

Hampton Deputy Police Chief Rich Sawyer said Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook, was pulled over after doing 59 in a 30-mph zone while crossing north over the Neil R. Underwood Memorial Bridge at 12:45 a.m. Saturday. 

Hess initially told the officer who stopped her that she didn't have her license on her, but later told the officer that she didn't actually have a license, according to Sawyer. Sawyer said "there is no indication" Hess "has ever had a valid license" in New Hampshire, Massachusetts or any other state.

Hess was issued a summons for the offenses and "released from the scene after a friend with a valid license arrived to retrieve" Hess' vehicle, a 2002 Honda Civic, according to Sawyer.

Less than eight hours later, Hess was driving that same vehicle south over the Underwood Bridge — which spans Route 1A — when she crossed into the northbound lane and struck four cyclists, two of whom succumbed to their injuries.

The investigation is ongoing, and Sawyer declined to speak Monday about possible charges and additional circumstances surrounding the investigation into the accident.

"There are developments," he said, adding that officers are "keeping consistent contact with the families of the victims" to keep them "appraised of the developments" of the investigation. "We will keep [the public] appraised of those developments without compromising the investigation."

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.

Hess voluntarily submitted to alcohol and drug testing following the crash, and Sawyer said his department is still waiting on the results of those screenings.

The department is also looking into the possibility that Hess may have been distracted behind the wheel, whether due to the use of a cell phone or for other reasons.

"We're investigating all possibilities, [including] the possibility that she may have been on the phone," said Sawyer, who said police would do that with any accident of this nature.

Phyliena Knowles September 23, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Why was she not arrested when she was stopped for excessive speeding and they found out she has not had a driver's license? if you get stopped for speeding and they find out your license is suspended or revoked, you get arrested. It should be the same for those that have not had a license. They are worse than the other in opinion. If she had been taken into custody when they found out she didn't even have a license, these people would be alive and uninjured. they let her go with a slap on the wrist and let a friend drive the car away. did they really think she would NOT DRIVE AGAIN?? She has to live with herself and what she did. That punishment is going to be worse than what she may end up with.
ann minois September 23, 2013 at 05:04 PM
If NH doesn't throw the book at her, she could end up killing more people, and possibly herself too, some day.
Denise Goudreault September 23, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Living at the beach for a number of months, I notice SO much reckless driving along Ashworth and Ocean Blvd. Until there are more patrols this will continue.
Hank Wright September 23, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Take a good look at her. If the Seabrook PD pulled over a 40 year old fat, bald guy speeding without a liscenc, they would have arrested him!
brian wilson September 23, 2013 at 08:17 PM
if it was me or any other guy we woukd have been lockedup tight.. but a good looking young girls gets a pass shame on the hampton police department n a investigation need to be conducted on the conduct n procedure of that officers.. becuase of him tw people are dead..
Louise West September 23, 2013 at 08:50 PM
This woman is a crack head and a Molly user hope she goes to jail for along time
Ned Battlecam Braden September 23, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Ya she has her own built in airbags too with that killer rack. But her brains are in there too.
Ski beach family September 23, 2013 at 09:43 PM
I think the police absolutely handled it correctly when they stopped her,cited her and had a friend retrieve the car. Could they arrested her, yes. But to summon kids for minor offenses even if you can arrest make more sense. I have more issue with the adults in her life that allow her to drive. Who's car was she using? How long has she been driving and what have the parents done about it. Put the blame where it belongs and that is on this girl.
L Moore September 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Rick September 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Does she own the car? If not, the vehicle owner needs to be summoned for allowing an unlicensed person to operate the vehicle twice. Any insurance on the vehicle? Don't be the farm....
Carson September 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM
@ski beach family: her parents are dead @louise west: you seem to post thah on everything about her bu she only does molly occasionally and she doesnt do crack. Nice try though. Trying to make yourself feel better as always.
Martha Littlefield Settles September 24, 2013 at 01:11 AM
If she was stopped and summons the first time and they let her go fine with a licensed driver okay' but apparently she didn't understand and/or as she went back out on the same road and for whatever reason wasn't paying attention to the road and caused a horrific accident and killed 2 people ; then I would have thought that the first time was a warning but this time she should have been arrested, taken for a drug/alcphol test and remained at the station and charged with reckless driving, driving without a license (2nd offense), and at least negligent homicide or even worse. You shouldn't let the person go and she should remain in jail until her arraignment. I not an officer and I probably don't know anything about the law but come on guys is't it only fair that she be locked up?
Lorri September 24, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Poor Hess!!! Ya right!!! This girl is nothing but a reckless drivier with no licence getting pulled over that night at 12:45 for speeding 59 mph on a 30 mph road same place!! PD should have towed that car then, I feel not one ounce of simpathy for her only for the victims and family. Hess is NOT th victom.
sad September 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM
teenagers + cars = risky risky + drugs = deadly grown ups should do better by their young. we must accept responsibility for our actions and non-actions. this girl's snowballed into an awful-awful-awful-action and she suffers. Tragically, it pales in contrast to the suffering families, friends, & colleagues of these two loving individuals, must now endure. my heart goes out to them. I mourn for their senseless loss. this stupid-stupid-stupid (i say this with as much compassion as i can muster) girl and all those who care about her, actually, have a chance at redemption. through service, honesty and acceptance. we all get lost sometime between the cracks...
ann minois September 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM
I am a neighbor and friend of the family of Pam Wells, one of the women killed. Her husband and two high school-aged children must now deal not only with the enormous void left by the sudden death of their wife and mother, but the knowledge that this low life had been stopped by the police mere hours before and never should have been anywhere near a steering wheel in the first place. I would really like to support the redemption idea for this girl but right now i'd rather lock her up myself and toss the key. If she gets off lightly, she could destroy more lives in the future. At the age of 20, she's got years to go on that score.
lawrencius fine September 24, 2013 at 01:47 PM
my gut feeling is the very same as yours, "ann minois", IF guilty, lock her up and throw away the key. VERY angry about this right now. But deep down, I know "sad's" comments above you are the correct guidance. Again, IF this girl is guilty of something, please let her come forth, admit responsibility, take the punishment that may come with that admission and reset her what can still be a productive life. It's only fair to the victims that there be total truth.
lawrencius fine September 24, 2013 at 02:00 PM
btw, is this her sister/guardian mentioned 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).
ann minois September 24, 2013 at 02:28 PM
I wish I could accept the good counsel, Lawrencius, but it's sure difficult for people who may know the families of the dead women to balance it at the moment. It's just close - literally close.
Jeffrey Brown September 24, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I rode in Saturday's event, though I only did the metric century and never crossed the Underwood Bridge to go south. Still, I didn't know either of the women who died or the others who were injured, but I feel both angry and sad that this happened. All I can say is that I hope justice is served and that the punishment fits the crime.
lawrencius fine September 24, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Ann and Jeffrey, I only wish peace for you and anyone else who is suffering right now because of this - You have all the right in the world to be angry, and sad or anything else, about this until that time does come. There is no fairness to this.
ann minois September 24, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Thank you for your sensitivity, Lawrencius. Your comments are appreciated. Same to Jeffrey Brown.
Lorri September 24, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Hess has a warrant out for her
Ron Powell September 24, 2013 at 07:37 PM
A few things: many have wondered why Hess wasn't arrested the first time she was cited for driving without a license. Well, because driving without a license in NH is a summary offense, at least for first time offenders. If you are caught for a second time in a 12-month period driving without a license, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Second, regarding the charges negligent homicide and second-degree assault. Neither requires intent, only that death or serious injury occurred as a result of reckless behavior, and, in the latter case, an "extreme indifference to the value of human life." Both are Class B felonies; however, negligent homicide can be upgraded to a Class A felony if the driver was driving under the influence. Lastly, while it might be tempting to assume that alcohol or drugs might play a factor, I wonder. Teens and young 20-somethings party, drink alcohol, and get high. But how many of them are out on the road at 8:30 on a Sunday morning? The only ones on the road at that time are usually either on their way to work or church. It's possible, but not very likely in my opinion. Sympathies go out to everyone affected by this tragic and senseless loss.
Ron Powell September 24, 2013 at 08:25 PM
According to the Eagle Tribune, the Hess family is originally from the West Coast, and moved from Alaska to Seabrook around 1996. In June 2007, when Darriean was 13, Darriean’s mother, Cheri Hess, 48, died unexpectedly after she collapsed while working in her garden. Darriean’s father was incarcerated, so there was no one to take care of Darriean and her four siblings. Her older sister Cassandra Clifton was raising Darriean and an older sibling since 2007.


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