NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 5, 2012

man killed in head-on crash

Victim may have suffered medical condition before accident

SALISBURY — A Seabrook man was killed Saturday afternoon following a horrific head-on collision between two pickup trucks on Rabbit Road near Route 110.

Martin Merrill, 62, of Walton Road, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after his Chevy Blazer crashed into a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by 62-year-old David Dragonas of Amesbury.

Salisbury police Chief Richard Merrill said the cause of the crash, which took place around 4 p.m., is still under investigation. But according to witnesses in a third vehicle, Merrill may have suffered a medical condition before veering across the center line and slamming into Dragonas' truck.

"But it's only speculation until an autopsy is done," said Merrill, who added that he was not related to the victim.

Merrill said neither drugs nor alcohol played a part in the crash, which is being investigated by an accident reconstruction team comprised of Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury police officers. It is unknown at this time whether Merrill died in the crash or was dead before impact, Merrill said.

"Right now, it's still a continuing investigation," Merrill said.

Among the police officers responding to the scene were Sgt. Eugene Scione, Patrick Szymkowski and Richard Dellaria from Salisbury, Sgt. William Scholtz and Jason Kooken from Amesbury and Sgt. Stephen Chaisson and Christopher McDonald from Newburyport.

Dragonas had to be extricated from his vehicle and was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport with what Merrill called facial and leg injuries. A spokesperson for Anna Jaques Hospital did not return a phone call yesterday seeking his condition.

Rabbit Road is a popular cut-through street between Salisbury and Seabrook that is often used to circumvent traffic coming from nearby Route 1 and Interstate 95.

As Salisbury firefighters and other emergency personnel attended the crash, a sheet was placed over the deceased. Debris was strewn several yards from the crash site and traffic was rerouted to other roads for more than three hours. A Medflight helicopter flight was ordered but later canceled.

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