NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

September 23, 2013

Police investigate Hampton crash

Seabrook driver killed 2, injured 2 Saturday morning

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMPTON N.H. — Police continue to conduct a criminal investigation into a car accident that killed two cyclists after a driver plowed into them during an annual bike ride at Hampton Beach Saturday.

As of last night, no charges had been filed against the driver, 20-year-old Darriean Hess, of Seabrook, who crossed the center line and struck a group of riders on Ocean Boulevard (Route 1A) at the Underwood Bridge spanning Hampton Harbor around 8:30 a.m.

The cyclists were participating in the 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride.

Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, were killed in the accident. Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers, were both injured and transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Family and friends mourned the loss of Wells and Bouchard over the weekend.

Bouchard rode her bicycle on a daily basis, her aunt Virginia L’Heureux said yesterday.

“Almost constantly,” she said. “She was a very big fan of cycling. She cycled all the time.”

L’Heureux said Bouchard was single and had family living in nearby Beverly and Salem. Bouchard will be remembered for living life to the fullest, she said.

“She was a beautiful girl full of life and we will all miss her,” L’Heureux said.

Wells’ husband, Tom Rogers, said his wife was practicing for the ride all summer long with Bouchard and Heigh. The three were friends, he said.

Uhmeyer is Bouchard’s boss.

Having starting cycling a few years ago, this would have been Wells’ first 100-mile ride, he said.

“She had been riding mostly by herself here on the north shore, and just loved the area for its back roads and scenic beauty,” Well wrote in statement. “Up to this summer, her longest ride might have been 40 miles. Last week, she went out with Margo and Elise logging 73 miles which was a real accomplishment. She had never been in such good shape.”

Wells most recently worked as a controller for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with her eye toward retirement, Rogers said. She was also an avid gardener and two created a “wonderful landscape” where the memorial service will take place.

They were married for 19 years and had two children, Alex, 17, and Elise,16.

“Pam was the best thing to have ever happened to me,” he said. “We will all miss her greatly.”

The annual ride typically follows the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coastlines, according to the event’s website.

The event is limited to 1,600 riders and was designed not to be a race, but rather an “enjoyable experience.”

“The Seacoast Century is unique in several ways thus making it a very enjoyable experience, not a race against the clock or other riders. Traveling through areas seldom seen by general tourists makes this event quite special,” according to the website.

The event included rides of up to 100 miles on Saturday and Sunday.

Rogers said police told him they’re treating the accident as a criminal investigation.

“They have the bicycles. They confiscated her phone, and they took a blood sample. And they have her car,” Rogers said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.