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Girl dies after crash in Laconia

A 14-year-old Laconia girl died Friday night after being struck by a Jeep while crossing the street after school that afternoon.

Laconia Middle School student Lilyanna Johnson, 14, was hit by a Jeep on Messer Street near the Opechee Street intersection. She was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where she later died, according to a Laconia Police Department press release.

Also injured was 14-year-old Alyssa Miner, who was still at Dartmouth-Hitchcock last night, said Laconia police Capt. Matt Canfield.

The driver of the Jeep that hit the girls, Amy Lafond of Laconia, was treated at Lakes Region General Hospital and released Friday night, Canfield said.

The Belknap Regional Accident Investigation Team is still investigating the crash, and the police have more questions than answers at this point, he said.

“We are looking into it to see if there’s a mechanical problem, and that could take some time to find out. It didn’t appear that there was alcohol involved, it may have been driver inattention. . . . We’re looking into every option that’s out there, but we have no idea at this point,” he said.

Lafond was driving north on Messer Street, approaching the Opechee Street intersection, where a car was stopped at the crosswalk and a large group of children from the school had gathered on the corner, waiting to cross, Canfield said.

“For whatever reason, (Lafond) left the northbound lane into the southbound and right up onto the sidewalk at the corner. She struck Alyssa, continued traveling, struck the guardrail and richocheted off the guardrail. The Jeep hit Lilyanna and continued off the sidewalk, off the southbound lane, came to rest at the curb of northbound lane,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or the Laconia Crimeline at 527-1717. Anonymous tips may also be left at laconiapd.org

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or
spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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