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Bow comes together to grieve two students killed in Friday morning crash

  • The backup from the fatal accident on Interstate-89 southbound at Exit 2 on Friday morning. The interstate was closed all the way to the I-93 interchange. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Fellow Bow football players get ready to carry a flag from midfield at the high school stadium as they help honor first-grader Gavin Ouellette and his brother, 11th-grader Nicholas Ouellette, a player on the Bow High football team, during a community gathering on Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • A Bow football coach who agreed to be photographed but did not want to be identified hugs a player at the stadium on Friday evening. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Bow lineman Cole McLaughlin holds up an American flag in honor of his teammate Nicholas Ouellette and his younger brother Gavin at the ceremony at the football stadium on Friday evening, September 10, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Members of the Bow girls soccer team write letters out at midfield at the ceremony at the Bow football stadium on Friday evening, September 10, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Demetri Mallios, 10, writes a condolence along with his Bulldog teammates out at midfield at the ceremony at the football stadium for Nick Ouellette and his younger brother Gavin, who died in a car crash earlier Friday morning. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/10/2021 10:31:24 AM

Members of the Bow football team, wearing their home jerseys, quietly placed American flags around the field Friday night to honor their teammate Nick Ouellette and his younger brother Gavin, who both died in a car crash earlier that morning. 

A large sign with the words “55: Nick and Gavin” stood in the middle of the field, and nearby community members sat in the grass and wrote notes of sympathy to the Ouellette family, with cards and markers provided by the school.

Hundreds of community members gathered at the field outside Bow High to talk, share fond memories, cry and embrace one another in the aftermath of a community tragedy. Students stood and sat on the grass in small groups, talking quietly while on the track and outside the fence, parents and family members talked and hugged, many with tears in their eyes. 

Earlier in the day, Superintendent Dean Cascadden announced to the community that Nicholas and Gavin were killed in an accident on Interstate 89 and called off all afterschool activities so students and families could attend the evening event.

“It’s really heavily affecting each of our schools. We’re just beginning to process it now,” Cascadden said. “We felt because it was such a large community impact, that we would just open up the football field.”

The Bow brothers were in a car driven by their father, Tom Ouellette, who is the Resource Officer at the high school.

Nicholas, an 11th grader, and his twin sister had just started classes at the Concord Regional Technical Center, Concord High Principal Michael Reardon said. 

Gavin was in first grade. The family has another child in fifth grade.

“This is a tragedy that affects our whole SAU and we will come together as a community that cares for each other to help the Ouellette family, who have students in each of our Bow schools and all of our community members through this very difficult time,” Cascadden said.

The crash occurred around 8:37 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 89 just past Exit 2 and shut down the highway near the Concord/Bow town line for about 5 hours as an accident reconstruction team investigated, State Police said.

For an unknown reason, a 2017 Ford Expedition driven by Ouellette drifted into the right-hand breakdown lane and collided with the back of a disabled tractor-trailer that was parked in the breakdown lane, State Police said.

Ouellette, 44, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Concord Hospital, police said.

Ouellette previously worked for the Weare Police Department, but left earlier this year to be the School Resource Officer in Bow and spend more time with his family, Weare Police Chief Christopher Moore posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Cascadden said the district has received an outpouring of support from other school districts. Constantly Pizza sent food to the school. 

“We really need to figure out next week and beyond how we really move forward, this was just one day. We were so amazed especially by our staff. People just stepped up and did things and did good things and didn't have to be told, didn’t have to be asked, just saw kids’ needs and met them.”

Anyone who may have information related to this crash is asked to contact Trooper First Class Nathaniel Goodwin at 603-846-3333 or email at Nathaniel.D.Goodwin@dos.nh.gov.

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