Six months later, man charged in Bow crash that killed Tyler Shaw

  • Tyler Shaw is shown with his dog, Cooper. Shaw was killed in a car accident in April. Courtesy

  • A sign Tyler Shaw’s family posted at his crash site.  Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 10/30/2018 10:20:42 AM

The driver involved in an April crash that killed a 20-year-old Concord man has been charged with negligent homicide, according to court documents. 

Joseph Leonard Jr., 36, of Derry, was traveling at excessive speeds and was intoxicated when he failed to stop at a Bow intersection and collided with Tyler Shaw’s pickup truck on April 30, according to the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office. Leonard’s blood alcohol content on that night exceeded 0.08 percent, prosecutors say.

The crash occurred when Leonard was driving off the Interstate 89 Exit 1 ramp just after 9 p.m. He allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign and hit Shaw’s car, which was traveling on Logging Hill Road, police said. Shaw was killed instantly.

A grand jury handed up three alternative counts of negligent homicide, which became public Tuesday. Leonard will be arraigned at Merrimack County Superior Court on Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.

The maximum sentence for negligent homicide in New Hampshire is 15 years. Shaw’s mother, Beth Shaw, said there is no amount of time that could ever feel like enough.

Beth Shaw, 49, said Tuesday was an emotional day, but that she was feeling fortunate for all the support her family has received from the Concord community. She said her phone was getting inundated with messages from friends and family who are happy to see progress being made.

“Everyone has been waiting and wondering and asking when the charges would come,” she said. “With all of the love they had for Tyler, they just want to see justice.”

Tyler Shaw was a 2015 graduate of Concord High School. He was working for a construction company in Bow when he died, and had dreams of moving out to Montana this year to pursue his HVAC license.

“He had so many dreams,” his mother said. “He was so ambitious, I know he would have accomplished all of them.”

He was known for his wild sense of humor, sense of adventure and his loyalty, his best friend Nate Engel said.

“He was just one of those kids who liked you if you were a good person,” Engel said. “No matter what you did, if you had a good heart, he liked you.”

The six months since Shaw lost his life have been challenging for his family and friends.

The spot on Logging Hill Road where the fatal crash occurred has become a makeshift memorial and hub since he died in April – a place where his friends and family come to meet, share stories about Tyler and bring items that remind them of him.

The day after the crash, Shaw’s friend, Spencer Haywood – the last person to see him alive – put up two white planks to create a cross with the label, “T Shaw,” Shaw’s nickname.

Coworkers from R.S. Audley Inc. brought Shaw’s yellow hard hat and laid it beneath the cross. Others brought a boat paddle, or skates to represent Shaw’s love for being on the water. Engel put down a blue shirt from Yellowstone National Park, a place Tyler loved.

In the last month, a yellow sign with red lettering reading, “JUSTICE FOR TSHAW – WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN???” was also placed at the site by his family.

Beth Shaw said she’s grateful to the state police and the county attorney’s office for pursuing the charges. Besides the loss, one of the hardest things has been knowing that no arrest had been made, she said.

“It magnifies everything – the driver should be ripped out of his life like Tyler was ripped out of ours,” Beth Shaw said. “I guess that will come at some point, but not soon enough.”

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