In the week since a 19-year-old woman plowed into a group of bicyclists on a New Hampshire bicycle ride — killing two and injuring two others — police have charged three people in connection with the crash.
Police are investigating everyone related to the tragic case. Early on, they had been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the driver of the 2002 Honda from getting back behind the wheel after a traffic stop 8 hours before the crash.
In the most recent action, police issued a summons to the owner of the car that the woman was driving in the crash. Earlier they had arrested the driver and a woman who allegedly had supplied her with drugs.
The bicyclists, Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, Mass., and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, Mass., were among the 1,500 riders on the annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century on Sept. 21. They were struck in a horrific head-on collision on a bridge about 8:30 a.m. by a driver who had crossed the center line.
Police first arrested Darriean Hess of Seabrook on Tuesday, charging her with two counts of negligent homicide and two counts of second degree assault.
Police had stopped Hess shortly midnight on Saturday for speeding 59 mph in a 30 mph zone on that same bridge. After she told police that she didn’t have a license to drive, they contacted a friend to drive away the 2002 Honda.
The media quoted a friend of one of the victims that it was “ridiculous” that Hess could get back behind the wheel. The police chief later said that there’s no law to hold her in jail for speeding or driving without a license.
Next, police arrested Cindy Sheppard, 48, of Hampton, NH. She was the woman who drove away the 2002 Honda for Hess. Police say she gave Hess fentanyl, a pain killer, on Saturday morning before the crash.
She was charged on Wednesday with selling a controlled substance and allowing an improper person to drive a car. Police said they told Sheppard that Hess did not have a license to drive when they released the car to her. In an unrelated case, Sheppard also faces arraignment on seven drug possession charges that stem from her earlier arrest by Hampton police in June.
Although police said they could not detain Hess for speeding or driving without a license, it’s surprising they released the car into the custody of a woman who already had been arrested in connection with supplying heroin in the Hampton area.
On Thursday, police served a warrant on Scott Martin, 19, of Seabrook, on the violation of allowing an improper person to operate a vehicle. According to police, Martin allowed Hess to drive his 2002 Honda even though he knew she didn’t have a license.
The victims of this tragedy have been remembered in a number of ways.
Friends and acquaintances set up a memorial for the two with messages, candles and a bouquet of flowers at the northern end of the bridge.
Services were held Thursday and Friday for Bouchard, who is survived by her parents and other family members. Donations in her memory were made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a cause that she supported through charity bike rides.