, Newburyport, MA

December 16, 2011

2 killed in Merrimac crash


MERRIMAC — Two people died and one person was injured in a 1-car accident on Interstate 495 South early this morning just prior to Broad Street/Exit 53.

George Schena, 27, of Plaistow, N.H., a front-seat passenger, died after becoming trapped in the Chrysler Sebring, which rolled over and hit a tree in the highway median near the Emery Street overpass at 1:39 a.m.

The driver of the car, Vanessa Knight, 27, of East Hampstead, N.H., also died.

Schena's older brother, Thomas Schena, 30, also of Plaistow, was in the back seat and was injured. He was taken by ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and was transferred to a Boston hospital. When he left Anna Jaques he was in stable condition, according to hospital spokeswoman Deborah Chiaravalloti.

According to Sgt. Jim Cowhig, George Schena was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, Knight, was taken to Anna Jaques and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Both of the deceased were wearing seatbelts, he said, adding that speed appears to have been a factor in the crash.

He said the Sebring was in the high-speed lane when it veered off the highway and went into the wooded median strip. It is unclear if the car rolled over before or after hitting the tree.

He said the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, or CARS, is investigating the accident along with Trooper Matt Wilson.

The vehicle was towed by Coady's in Methuen.