Crash report nearly done
Police still investigating Lyndeborough fatal accident
LYNDEBOROUGH – State police say their investigation into the July accident that killed a Lyndeborough woman is nearly complete.
E a r l y on the morning of July 15, police say, a Dodge R a m driven by a Lyndeborough teenager struck and killed Debess Rogers as she walked from her disabled car on Center Road to her home.
State Trooper Michael Pelletier said a fatal crash investigation typically takes several months, as he and four other members of the state police Technical Accident Reconstruction Unit review medical examiner reports and toxicology reports; analyze interviews, roadway design and driver impairment; and other tasks involved in investigating a crash that involves a death or serious injury.
Pelletier said that police must obtain records from cellphones and other electronics equipment, along with phone company records. He said they must apply for search warrants and do a post-crash vehicle inspection.
"This is a death investigation, and yes, they take months to complete, not weeks," Pelletier said.
When the analysis is complete, police have to bring all of the factors together into a report.
"Typical reconstruction reports in criminal cases with supporting documents are several hundred pages, and I have had one that was close to 1,000 pages," Pelletier said. "These cases are all different; thus, not everything applies in every case."
But, he said, "We want to leave no stone unturned."
Police have more work to do this year because there are more fatal accidents, he said.
"Some of us have cases in the double digits," Pelletier said, "and are helping other troopers with theirs."
Then there is the "CSI effect," making people more impatient for a resolution because they see TV investigators solve a homicide within an hour, he said.
After the reconstruction unit presents its report, the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office will decide what charges, if any, will be filed.
The 17-year-old driver in the Lyndeborough crash hasn’t been officially identified because she is a juvenile, police said. Her status as an adult or a juvenile going forward will be determined by the state safety commissioner, police said.
When a juvenile is charged with a felony-level offense, the juvenile operator is entitled to a certification hearing before being prosecuted as an adult.
If the court decides she should be treated as an adult, she would be identified.
Pelletier said he has been in contact with the victim’s family, as police try to do for each fatality.
"We know the family wants closure," he said.
Rogers and her husband were driving home from a concert in Massachusetts that night when their car stalled on Center Road. Rogers decided to walk the half mile to their Mountain Road home to get another vehicle, while her husband, who had a knee injury, waited in the car.
The blue 2013 Dodge Ram was traveling north, and Rogers was walking north in the southbound lane, near the shoulder. Sometime before 2:38 a.m., the truck drifted into the southbound lane, according to police, and hit Rogers, a 60-year-old grandmother, who was declared dead at the scene.
The driver wasn’t injured.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.