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Concord woman dies in crash on I-93 near Hooksett rest area

The Merrimack County Attorney’s office is considering criminal charges related to a crash that killed a Concord woman on Interstate 93 yesterday morning, an accident the state police have called “a freak occurrence.”

Kerry Anderson-Baker, 40, died shortly after 8 a.m., Maj. Russell Conte said at a press conference yesterday. Traffic in both lanes of the interstate was congested for several hours yesterday morning as the state police responded to the incident and cleaned up the scene.

A large truck was driving southbound on I-93 near the Hooksett rest area, pulling a modular home on a tractor-trailer, when a wheel flew off the trailer and crossed the median. The wheel struck an unmarked police cruiser driven by Col. Robert Quinn, director of the New Hampshire State Police, and then ricocheted off the front of his car back into southbound traffic.

The wheel then struck Anderson-Baker’s car in the southbound lane and killed her on impact.

“I don’t think there’s any question that this could have been more catastrophic, and we have loss of life,” Conte said. “Our thoughts and prayers certainly are with the family.”

Allen Condon, 51, of Oakfield, Maine, was driving the truck and its trailer, which belong to the Maine-based company Crawford Homes. Merrimack County Attorney Scott Murray said his office is investigating the crash. New Hampshire state law requires all drivers to stop if involved in an accident, Murray said.

Condon did not stop at the time of the accident and may not have realized the wheel had fallen off the trailer, the police said.

But because of the size of his truck, Condon was traveling on I-93 with an escort vehicle.

“The rules for escort vehicles is, on interstates, they drive behind,” Conte said. “On secondary roads, many times you’ll see that they’ll be ahead of a wide load to make sure that people move over, but on the interstate system, they always travel in the rear.”

Murray could not say whether Condon or the unidentified driver of the escort vehicle knew something had gone wrong with the trailer, but both will be included in the investigation. The Maine State Police located Condon and his truck at a rest stop in Maine, and the county attorney’s office is in the process of bringing the vehicle back to New Hampshire.

“The reality is, this is a freak occurrence,” Conte said. “It is unfortunately debris, it is a piece of equipment that flew off the truck. . . . Why did that happen? What happened out here (at the scene of the crash), I think we’ve pretty much cleared up. There’s quite a bit of work for the county attorney’s office to do, and we’ll be vigilant in finding out anything that we can.”

Quinn, who called in the accident to the state police immediately, was not injured.

Anderson-Baker worked as a project manager in patient care services at Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Mass.

Vanessa Kortze, marketing and communications manager at the hospital, described Anderson-Baker as “just one of the best friends and colleagues that you can imagine.”

“She was integral across all departments and so was very well-known and touched the better part of the entire organization,” Kortze said.

Dianne Anderson, president and CEO of the hospital, released a statement about Anderson-Baker yesterday.

“Kerry played an integral role in many of the recent patient care improvements across our campus,” Anderson said in the statement. “All of us at Lawrence General are heartbroken for the loss of a valued colleague and friend, and our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, her children and her family at this difficult time.”

Conte applauded the work of the troopers and others involved in handling yesterday’s accident and locating the truck.

“In the end, it certainly will never overshadow that someone lost their life out here on a beautiful day on a highway going to work,” he said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or
mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

A great post Freeze-Frame. Nice to hear common sense for a change in regards to accidents. Feel so sad for the family and friends of this woman. She looks like a very compassionate person. Sometimes you can pick that up in someone's face, even if you do not know them.

"The Merrimack County Attorney’s office is considering criminal charges"....why? Freak occurrence is what the state police said....seems to me where's the criminal negligence. I don't think anyone has the intention of having their business ruined by some form of negligence. really, does the NH attorney general really think this people had some kind of death wish for NH motorists? Please save the tax payer dollars on this one. Explains why the State police were out enforce on the interstate yesterday from Hooksett to Littleton I counted 12 in the median up and back; with the majority from concord up.

Because it's against the law to leave the scene of an accident, even a freak accident.

That assumes that you are even aware of it in the first place. Losing a tire such as this would barely be noticeable to a driver.

I imagine charges could also result from faulty maintenance or lack thereof. I don't think they would go after the driver for leaving the scene of the accident if he didn't know the wheel came off. However, if there was a chase car whose job it is to ensure safe transit, I'm not sure how the incident could have been missed. The police are right to look into it, but talk of charges may be premature until they know the facts.

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