EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 27, 2013

Questions arise over drug use in fatal crash


About eight hours later, Hess got behind the wheel of the same car and drove over the bridge, where police say she struck the bicyclists.

Flanked by public attorney Neil Reardon at her arraignment yesterday, Sheppard kept her eyes firmly on the camera as police prosecutor Steve Champey asked Judge Mark Weaver for $10,000 cash bail. Reardon called Champey's request excessive saying that Sheppard was a double amputee having lost both legs below the knee and was not a flight risk.

“It certainly would be difficult for her to physically run away, that’s for sure,” Reardon stated.

Champey didn't dispute Reardon's claim that Sheppard wasn't a flight risk. But Champey pointed out that Sheppard was already out on bail for a Sept. 5th charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Sheppard, seated in a wheelchair, remained silent for most of the arraignment but thanked Weaver shortly before she was wheeled off camera. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 9, at 11 a.m.

After Sheppard's arraignment, Champey told a group of reporters he couldn't comment on the case but did say that investigators are still determining whether Hess had been under the influence of Fentanyl at the time of the crash.

Hours after her arraignment at Seabrook Circuit Court, Sheppard was arraigned at Rockingham County Superior Court on seven drug related charges related to her early September arrest. According to Reams, the charges were all drug-related and involved three counts of possession and four counts of intent to distribute. The drugs involved include heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs. She is being held on $25,000 cash or bond for those charges, according to Reams.

In a related development yesterday, police issued a summons to Scott Martin, 19, of Lafayette Road, Seabrook, the fiance of Hess, for allowing an improper person to operate a motor vehicle, a violation-level offense. He is due to appear at Seabrook Circuit Court on Oct. 23.

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