Friends: Epsom teen killed in crash wanted to be a state trooper
The Epsom teen who died in a car crash early Sunday after officials say he sped away from an approaching police officer planned to work in law enforcement and was eager to start a degree program in criminal justice this fall, his mother said.
Friends who gathered yesterday at the crash site in Epsom remembered 18-year-old Allen Field for his laugh, for his wide smile and for the strong hugs that he gave generously.
“He was just the most genuine and kind friend anyone could have. Everyone Allen met instantly liked him,” said Shane St. Onge as he stood with a half dozen others who graduated with Field from Pembroke Academy last month.
Field died shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday when the police say his car hit a tree while taking a turn on New Rye Road in Epsom and landed on its roof. According to the state police, Epsom Officer Dana Flanders attempted to talk to Field a short while earlier when he saw the teen parked behind Epsom Central School.
Before Flanders stopped his cruiser, though, Field sped away, the police said. The officer followed but stopped his pursuit when he was unable to catch up to the car.
The police say Flanders later came upon the crash, which was about 2 miles from the school.
The state police were unable to provide further details about the incident yesterday, such as how much time passed between when Field left the school and when he hit the tree.
The police also haven’t given any indication of why Field sped away from Flanders.
Friends said Field worked until about 10 Saturday night at the Hooksett Market Basket. He went home and played Call of Duty, a video game, on Xbox for a while. Several friends said they saw him logged into the live gaming system.
Dillon Girard said Field ended up at the school because it was a warm night and the two planned to swim in a stream near the property. Girard said Field sent him a text message about 12:50 a.m. saying he was on his way.
St. Onge thinks his friend “just wanted to avoid confrontation” when Flanders approached him in the parking lot.
Friends and family members said Field had never been in trouble with the law beyond a few speeding tickets. Those tickets, though, meant he was at risk of losing his license, they said. He was recently warned that if he got in trouble again, he could have his driving privileges revoked for several months, friends said.
“I think he just panicked,” one friend at the crash site said as others nodded in agreement.
Sherri Cote, whose daughter Madison dated Field for more than a year, said she also thinks Field may have fled because he was afraid of losing his license. She said her daughter often got angry with Field for speeding and warned him that the tickets could have repercussions and hold him back from becoming a state trooper like he wanted.
“He didn’t drink. He didn’t do drugs. He wasn’t that kind of kid,” said Cote, who works in the Monitor’s advertising department. “But he liked his car, and he liked to drive fast. He was an 18-year-old boy and that’s what he did.”
Friends said Field loved his red Volkswagen GTI and often cruised around town with no clear destination.
“Anytime all the guys hung out, Allen was always good for a late-night McDonald’s run,” St. Onge said, pointing to two McDouble burgers the group had placed on a roadside memorial at the crash site.
As the friends stood by the road, some found shards of Field’s car – an indistinguishable piece of black plastic, a clear strip of a headlight – and placed the remnants on the memorial. On the tree that Field’s car struck, now raw on one side where the vehicle scratched off the bark, St. Onge pinned up a blue shirt that some 50 people had stopped by to sign.
One friend bought a new pair of Michael Jordan basketball shoes, the kind Field always wore, and placed the box at the tree’s base. They tied the laces together and hung the sneakers from the branches.