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 kcleveland@cabinet.com.