By Dave Rogers
---- — SALISBURY — Alcohol appears to have played a part in a fatal head-on collision that claimed the life of a Salem, N.H. woman Monday night just minutes before the New Year on the south side of the Route 1 Gillis Bridge.
Police identified the woman as Donna Bergeron, 41. The driver, Mikhael Sarkis, 50, of Lawrence, is expected to face charges in connection with the accident.
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. There were two passengers in the Marquis and both sustained injuries. The two, along with Sarkis, were taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport. It appears Bergeron was pronounced dead at the scene.
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.