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Police: Flare gun fired inside car

Road rage incident causes no injuries

A driver waved a flare gun at another vehicle on Interstate 93 on Monday before the gun ultimately went off in his own car, narrowly missing a juvenile passenger, according to the state police.

Nicholas Richer, 18, of Manchester pointed the flare gun out his window during a road rage incident that began about 5:43 p.m. at the Hooksett toll plaza and ended in Bow, according to a release.

Sgt. Charles Johnston of the state police said the incident is still under investigation, but it appears Richer cut off another driver while illegally changing lanes at the plaza.

Johnston said the two drivers began yelling and gesturing at each other while traveling at a close proximity northbound on I-93. Several minutes into the incident, Richer pointed the flare gun out the window, Johnston said.

But after Richer waved it around, the gun went off in his own car, with the flare 'ricocheting off the windshield,' according to Johnston.

'It's unclear whether he attempted to fire the weapon outside his vehicle with the round . . . going off a few seconds late after it went inside the car or if he inadvertently pulled the trigger,' Johnston said.

Richer was found concealing the flare gun in a bush by a state trooper who approached him at a Bow gas station about 6:05 p.m., according to the police. The windshield of his car was smashed from the blast, and the front passenger seat, where a 16-year-old juvenile was traveling during the incident, was significantly burned, according to Johnston.

Richer was charged with felonies of reckless conduct and criminal threatening. He was released on a $7,500 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Concord's district court at 8:30 a.m. June 4.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or tnadolny@cmonitor.com.)