GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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September 23, 2013

Essex cyclist among injured in N.H. crash

HAMPTON, N.H. — An Essex resident was one of two bicyclists injured Saturday when a car crashed into a group of riders on an organized cycling tour, leaving two other North Shore cyclists dead.

All of the victims were from the North Shore area of Massachusetts and were participating in the 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride.

Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Lowe Hill Road in Essex and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers, were both transported from the scene and hospitalized with what authorities described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, died from injuries received in the crash, which happened on a two-lane bridge in Hampton about 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes after the ride began. Both were pronounced dead at the hospital: Wells at Exeter Hospital; Bouchard at Portsmouth Hospital.

Investigators have determined that the bicyclists participating in the Seacoast Century ride were traveling north on Ocean Boulevard, just starting over the Underwood Bridge, when a vehicle traveling south over the bridge — operated by Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook, N.H. — hit the group of riders. Hess was transported to Portsmouth Hospital for minor injuries. Ocean Boulevard is also designated as Route 1A.

Police say Hess drifted off the center lane and hit the four bicyclists.

“After the driver hit the cyclists, the driver lost control and veered back on to this side of the road and carved a path of destruction taking down safety reflectors and ultimately this sign,” Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan told WMUR-TV.

Hess had not been charged as of last night, but Tom Rogers, the husband of Pamela Wells, one of the victims, said police told him they’re treating the accident as a criminal investigation.

“They have the bicycles. They confiscated her phone, and they took a blood sample. And they have her car,” Rogers said.

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