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Cause of fatal accident still unclear

The Concord police have not yet determined what caused a 72-year-old Contoocook man to drive off a country road Sept. 23 and crash into a tree.

Stephen Blankinship of Little Tooky Road was found unconscious in a silver Ford Explorer last Monday after reportedly veering off Horse Hill Road and hitting the tree. He was taken to Concord Hospital and later pronounced dead. No other vehicles or people were involved in the incident.

Lt. Timothy O’Malley said there are still no indications Blankinship was driving under the influence of alcohol or that he was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident. An autopsy has not been performed, O’Malley said, so it is unclear whether Blankinship suffered a heart attack or other sudden onset illness.

Blankinship’s wife, Shirley Blankinship, also died last week – a day or two after Stephen – according to friends. She was 67, and had been battling a terminal illness for about a year.

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