HAMPTON — A car crashed into a group of bicyclists yesterday during an annual ride along the New England coastline, killing two riders and injuring two others, police said.
All of the victims were from the North Shore area of Massachusetts and 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, died from injuries received in the crash, which happened on a two-lane bridge in Hampton at about 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes after the ride began. Both were pronounced dead at the hospital: Wells at Exeter Hospital; Bouchard at Portsmouth Hospital.
Two other bicyclists were transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Police identified them as Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers.
Investigators have determined that four bicyclists participating in the Annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride were traveling north on Ocean Blvd just starting over the Underwood Bridge. A vehicle traveling south over the bridge operated by Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook, NH hit the group of bicyclists. Hess was transported to Portsmouth Hospital for minor injuries.
Police say Hess drifted off the center lane and hit the four bicyclists. Authorities haven’t said whether the driver will be charged.
”After the driver hit the cyclists, the driver lost control and veered back on to this side of the road and carved a path of destruction taking down safety reflectors and ultimately this sign,” Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan told WMUR TV.
The bicyclists were crossing Underwood Bridge that spans Hampton Harbor, police said.
A section of Ocean Boulevard, also known as Route 1A, was closed off while police investigated the crash.
The route typically follows the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coastlines, according to the event’s website.