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July 12, 2014

New Hampshire cracks down on extreme speeding

Police: Too many drivers clocked at speeds exceeding 100 mph

After 24 years on the job, New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Paul Hunt remembers plenty of extreme speeding cases over the years.

Those are incidents where drivers are clocked at more than 100 mph, posing a risk to themselves and others, Hunt said.

“It’s just not worth it,” he said. “They are putting everybody else’s life in danger.”

That’s why the Legislature has passed a bill, which Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign, that toughens the penalties for those speeders.

The number of these cases is increasing, Hunt said, as more people — especially motorcyclists — hit the road during the summer months.

That couldn’t have been any more evident than last week when state police stopped two motorists traveling well over 100 mph on the same day.

The incidents occurred Wednesday in Greenland and Nashua, where a third driver avoided police after two cars were racing north on the Everett Turnpike at 132 mph.

Kenneth Guertin, 45, of Hudson faces felony reckless conduct and criminal mischief charges following the 7 a.m. stop. Drivers were elated Guertin was stopped before a serious accident occurred, Hunt said.

“The public was actually beeping their horns and giving the thumbs up to the trooper,” he said.

Only 40 minutes later, Scott Gardiner, 22, of Hampton was stopped by state police on Interstate 95 after the motorcyclist was clocked at 107 mph. The speed limit was 65 mph. He was charged with reckless driving.

While Hunt said he’s dealt with many speeders over nearly three decades, having two extreme cases in the same day is uncommon.

“These are the most dangerous episodes of driving, back to back, that I have ever seen,” Hunt said.

They rank right up there, he said, with an incident on Interstate 93 in Ashland years ago when a motorcyclist was stopped while driving 145 mph.

“It’s definitely in the top five,” Hunt said of the Nashua incident. “I’ve seen them in the past, but it’s still one of the most reckless situations I’ve seen. That area in Nashua is very congested.”

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