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3 riders killed on the way to Laconia, NH
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3 riders killed on the way to Laconia, NH - June 11, 2006, 06:27 PM



3 motorcyclists killed

Special to The Union Leader
Saturday, Jun. 10, 2006

Stoddard – Three motorcyclists were killed early yesterday afternoon when an SUV plowed into a pack of bikers on their way to Motorcycle Week.

New Hampshire State Police said the accident involved six motorcycles, all Harley-Davidsons. They were eastbound on Route 9, a two-lane state highway that runs through southwestern New Hampshire and merges into Interstate 89 north of Concord.

The accident took place minutes after noon on a curve in Stoddard near the Antrim town line, about 60 miles from Weirs Beach.

State police said the accident happened when the second motorcyclist in the pack — identified as Steven Leamy, 38, of Broad Brook, Conn. — drifted into the westbound lane.

An oncoming 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee tried to avoid the bike but lost control, collided with the bike and then struck the pack of motorcycles.

Pronounced dead at the scene were:

* Leamy, who was wearing a helmet.

* Larry McFetridge, 54, of Bristol, Conn.

* Christopher Fontaine, 39, of Chicopee, Mass.

Another motorcyclist, Donald Greene, 43, of East Hartford, Conn., was flown by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and remained in critical condition last night.

Kurt Neligon, 46, of Granby, Conn., was taken by ambulance to Cheshire Medical Center with a leg injury. He was wearing a helmet.
jun09 motorcycle crash 220px (FAITH SWYMER)

Dean Stoddard and Heather Barton sit in the road grieving after a vehicle and several motorcycles collided, killing three people. Stoddard was the last motorcyclist of the pack, and his friend was one of those killed. (FAITH SWYMER)

Dean Stoddard, 41, of Easthampton, Mass., hit the SUV with his motorcycle but was uninjured. State police did not identify the final motorcyclist, who was driving at the front of the pack and was untouched.

Stoddard said he was riding into New Hampshire with Fontaine when the seven met up by chance and rode together.

“He (Fontaine) had just taken his helmet off 10 minutes ago,” Stoddard said. The pair commonly doff their helmets when they enter New Hampshire, which does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, he said.

The two and a friend, Heather Barton, who was driving in a car behind them, planned to rent a cabin for the weekend.

Visibly shaken, Stoddard stayed on the scene while several state troopers investigated the crash. The highway was closed to traffic for much of the afternoon.

The accident proved a grisly reminder of the potential for injury and death to the thousands of motorcyclists who will pour into New Hampshire this weekend and next week. Motorcycle Week officially starts in Laconia today.

Historically, four or five motorcycle fatalities take place during Bike Week, said Peter Thomson, coordinator of the state highway safety program.

“Everyone’s in a hurry to get up to the Lakes Region. That’s when these things happen,” Thomson said.

Before yesterday, there had been only two motorcycle fatalities in New Hampshire this year.

Last year, New Hampshire recorded 42 motorcycle fatalities, one-quarter of all motor-vehicle fatalities on roadways, he said. At least one-third of those involved another vehicle that encroached on the center line and caused the crash, he said.

“We just have to continually try and educate the people to slow down and let them know we’re sharing the road with a lot of motorcyclists this week,” Thomson said.

The driver of the SUV, Deborah Huston, 51, of Bowdoinham, Maine, and her two passengers were taken to Cheshire Medical Center. She was treated for injuries and released. The passengers were released at the hospital.

Police said all three had been wearing seatbelts.

Sgt. Barry Jones of state police Troop C said the accident is the worst he has seen on that area of Route 9 in his 26 years patrolling the area.

He said a “considerable amount of time” will be put into the investigation, including a 24-hour background investigation on all the drivers.

Staff reporter Mark Hayward contributed to this article.

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June 11, 2006, 06:34 PM

Rest in Peace to those who died. Best of luck to those in recovery.

I heard this year there was a record number of faitalities at bike week, always sad to hear.

R.I.P. Eric "TheIrishGuy"

"Will you carry me down the aisle that final day
With your tears and cold hands shaking from the weight
When you lower me down beneath that sky of gray
Let the rain fall down and wash away your pain"

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June 11, 2006, 08:07 PM

man, that sucks!
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June 11, 2006, 09:54 PM


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June 11, 2006, 10:31 PM

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