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January 11, 2013

State Police assigned to investigate accident

Officer's wife hurt in Dec. 22 single-car crash

SEABROOK — A serious accident last month that sent the wife of a local police officer to a Boston hospital is under investigation by the New Hampshire State Police to avoid any semblance of conflict of interest.

According to Seabrook Police Chief Lee Bitomske, Stacy Wasson, the wife of Seabrook Lt. John Wasson, was injured in the single-car accident on Dec. 22 on Weare Road,

The 41-year-old was alone in a 2005 Escalade when it slammed into a tree at Weare Road and Mill Lane at 9:48 p.m. She was transported by Seabrook ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and later transferred to a Boston hospital for further treatment, Bitomske said. The SUV was totalled in the crash.

The chief said the decision to call in the State Police to process the accident was made soon after Seabrook officers arrived at the scene and realized the victim was a family member of one of the department’s own.

Sgt. David Bucchieri, the shift commander and second on the scene, would have been the one to make that decision, Bitomske said.

“Our protocol, and I imagine it’s the same with other police departments, is that with incidents like this one, we call in another (law enforcement) agency to handle the investigation,” Bitomske said. “We want everything to be above board. We don’t want any semblance of foul play.”

According to Capt. Gary Wood, commander officer of Troop A of the State Police, a request like Seabrook’s is not uncommon. He said the state agency is often called in as an impartial entity to investigate accidents involving family members.

Wood believes Troop A was called soon after Seabrook police reached the scene since the victim was still at the crash site when troopers arrived.

Because the investigation, being led by Trooper Nicholas Cyr of Troop A, is ongoing, Wood said he cannot comment on any aspect of it. He said such investigations usually take 30 to 90 days to complete and involve interviewing witnesses and looking into contributing factors, such as “speed, alcohol, weather conditions, distractions like texting, cell phone use or even a dog running into the road.”

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