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Moose-car collision on I-89 ends up involving four vehicles

By DAN SEUFERT
Union Leader Correspondent

September 30. 2015 10:13PM


NEW LONDON – A car collided with a moose just after dusk on Wednesday night, sending one person to the hospital with serious injuries and causing three other vehicles to crash on busy Interstate 89 Wednesday night.

Fire Chief Jason Lyon said an approximately 1,000-pound moose crossed the highway at about 7:30 p.m. south of Exit 12, just beyond the exit’s on-ramp.

The driver of the sedan, who the car's lone occupant, was not identified by Lyon, had serious injuries and was taken to New London Hospital.

The moose went through the sedan’s windshield, but the driver's injuries were not life-threatening, Lyon said.

"It was just luck," Lyon said when asked how the driver survived the crash.

Three cars driving behind the sedan – two other sedans and a station wagon – also either struck the first car or went off the road trying to avoid the accident. None of the other drivers or their passengers were hurt. The four cars involved were heavily damaged, and all had to be towed or otherwise removed from the highway.

Lyon said it was fortunate that the driver in Wednesday’s crash and the drivers behind were not more seriously hurt.

"When a vehicle hits a moose, it takes the legs out from under the animal and they often go through the windshield," he said.

As rescue crews were responding to the moose collision, another accident occurred in the northbound lane in approximately the same area, sending that driver to New London Hospital with an injury that was also not life-threatening, Lyon said. The accidents were not related, he said, and neither was the result of the rainy weather.

Fire department crews and police briefly closed the southbound lane, but traffic resumed normally within an hour, he said.

The moose was killed in the crash. The carcass was removed from the highway quickly, Lyon said. He wasn’t sure whether it was given to anyone for food.

"It always depends on the condition of the carcass," he said.


The state has seen at least three deaths in recent months from moose-vehicle collisions. A Massachusetts man was killed on Sept. 17 when his sedan collided with a moose in the northbound lane of Interstate 93 in the Franconia Notch Parkway in Lincoln. A Randolph man was killed July 7 on Route 16 in Jackson when his car hit a moose, and a Connecticut motorcyclist was killed Aug. 28 when he hit a moose on the Kancamagus Highway in Waterville Valley.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said there are annually about 250 moose-related accidents in the state, with many resulting in severe injuries to drivers and passengers. The state has about 6,000 moose, which weigh on average about 1,000 lbs., stand six feet tall at the shoulder, and are hard to see at night.

During the past five years, the number of moose killed in vehicle collisions in the state has ranged from 132 in 2014 to 213 in 2010.

Fish and Game officials said drivers should be particularly aware of moose at dusk and at dawn. Drivers can lessen the likelihood of hitting a moose by following the advice on the agency’s "Brake for Moose" webpage at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/brake-for-moose.html.

"(Moose collisions) can be extremely deadly, and this time of year is rutting (or mating) season, the moose are extremely active, so drivers have to be particularly aware. It doesn’t have to be a 1,000-pound moose, either, it can be a younger moose and a collision can be just as dangerous."

dseufert@newstote.com


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