By Dave Rogers
---- — SALISBURY — Alcohol appears to have played a part in a fatal head-on collision that claimed the life of a female passenger Monday night just minutes before the New Year on the south side of the Route 1 Gillis Bridge.
Police this morning identified the woman as Donna Bergeron, 41. Her hometown was not released.
The department’s accident reconstruction team led by Sgt. Robert Roy was still trying to piece together where the wayward car had begun its journey. The accident occurred about 11:35 p.m.
What they do know is that the Lincoln was traveling on Merrimac Street in Newburyport and took a left-hand turn, heading north into Salisbury via the southbound side of the divided Route 1 bridge over the Merrimack River, Fowler said.
The Lincoln almost made it across the bridge before striking a Mercury Grand Marquis that was heading south into Newburyport.
“It’s pretty clear how it happened,” Fowler said.
The driver of the Lincoln, Mikhael Sarkis, 50, has not yet been charged.
According to police, the victim was one of two passengers in the Lincoln traveling the wrong way.
All four people involved sustained injuries and were transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport. The female victim appears to have been pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police.
Newburyport firefighters, led by Lt. Barry Salt, were the first to arrive at the scene, followed by Salisbury firefighters and police officers from both communities. Rescue units were at the scene for nearly three hours before clearing the scene, and the southbound side of the bridge was closed for a time.
Salisbury firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate at least one of the victims in the crash, according to Salisbury fire Chief Richard Souliotis.