No charges yet in fatal crash
MILFORD – Police say they don’t know yet if charges will be filed against a Winchester woman involved in a deadly head-on crash on May 3.
Roberta Odell, 52, was driving east on Route 101 and attempting to pass another vehicle when her 2011 Nissan Rogue collided with a sedan that was heading west, killing a front-seat passenger in the 2007 Kia Spectra, police said. Susan Robbs, 69, of Belmont, died at the scene. The car’s driver, Thomas Robbs, 74, also of Belmont, was injured. Police said his injuries didn’t appear to be lifethreatening. Odell was seriously injured and flown by medical helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. The hospital’s media office reported that Odell isn’t on the list of patients for whom they are authorized to release information. Police said Od
ell was trying to pass another vehicle in a passing zone on a straight stretch of highway just beyond the exit for Route 13. Milford Police Capt. Craig Frye said he doesn’t know if Odell will be charged or whether she had a history of motor vehicle violations, and that he won’t know until the Police Department’s Technical Accident Investigation Team completes its work.
The SUV appeared to have flown into the air and landed on top of a guardrail.
The fatal crash came six days after a series of four related accidents on the morning of April 27, three near the same spot on Route 101 and one on Nashua Street, at the ramps for Route 101 West. None of those crashes resulted in serious injuries, Frye said.
In those accidents, police initially reported that Jillian Beaucher, of Wilton, was seriously injured. Beaucher was in the fourth in the series of crashes that began on Nashua Street. Her sedan was badly damaged, however, as were most of the six vehicles.
Route 101, a two-lane road in this area, with no center divider or median, has been the focus of safety concerns nearly since it was installed in the 1970s, especially after three ConVal High School students were killed in a collision with a drunk driver in 1979 on the section of the highway above Ponemah Hill Road. Frye said that years ago, people talked about installing Jersey barriers in the median, but he noted that highways with barriers or generous medians still have fatal crashes.
After two fatal accidents on the Milford stretch of the road in 2008, center-line rumble strips were installed throughout the Amhest- Milford part of the highway. Rumble strips are now in the center of the road throughout the Amherst-Milford section of the road, including all passing-zones.
In 2012, after a deadly head-on crash of a Honda Accord and a tractortrailer, Milford selectmen talked about asking for the road to be put on the state’s 10-year highway plan for road widening. Frye said Route 101 is safe, but that people need to drive with more care and to remember to put their headlights on in fog. Anyone with information about the May 3 crash is asked to call Sgt. Andrew Fowle at 673-7742, ext. 364.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.