September 25, 2013

N.H. driver arraigned in crash that killed two bicyclists

Police say Darriean Hess was driving too fast and without a license when she plowed into a group of cyclists in Hampton on Saturday.

The Associated Press

SEABROOK, N.H. — A 19-year-old New Hampshire motorist said she took her eyes off the road "for a few seconds" before a weekend crash that killed two cyclists from Massachusetts, according to a court document.

click image to enlarge

Booking photo of Darriean Hess, who is charged with two counts of negligent homicide.

AP

Police say Darriean Hess of Seabrook was driving too fast and without a license when she plowed into a group of cyclists on Saturday on a bridge during an annual ride in Hampton. Two riders died and two were injured.

Hess was charged with two counts of negligent homicide and two counts of assault, all felonies carrying a maximum of seven years in prison upon conviction.

Hess, who had been ordered held on $50,000 bail, was arraigned Wednesday via video from jail, and a judge continued her bond. Prosecutor Barry Newcomb said Hess was "a risk to public safety" and a flight risk, given that she has family in Alaska. Defense attorney Anthony Naro asked for bail to be reduced to $15,000. He did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

In a police affidavit, David Kelley, a retired state police major who witnessed the accident, said Hess admitted immediately afterward to taking her eyes off the road.

Killed in the accident were Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, Mass., and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, Mass.

Police say Hess had been stopped on the same road eight hours before the crash and ticketed for driving without a license.

She is due back in court on Oct. 8 for a probable cause hearing.

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