Tractor-trailer wheel bounces off State Police cruiser into I-93 traffic, killing woman
By DOUG ALDEN New Hampshire Union Leader
A tarp covers a vehicle in the southbound lane of Route 93 in Hooksett, at the scene of an accident that happened during the morning commute, just south of the Hooksett rest area. (THOMAS ROY)
The state police cruiser involved in this morning's crash sits on the northbound side of Interstate 93 in Hooksett. (Thomas Roy)
State police released this photo Wednesday morning showing a cruiser camera capturing an image of the truck that lost a wheel assembly on Route 93 Wednesday morning. The truck was later located in Maine.
HOOKSETT - New Hampshire State Police have located a truck driver whose vehicle lost a wheel that traveled across Interstate 93 twice, killing the driver of a southbound vehicle Wednesday morning.
At a news conference this afternoon, State Police Major Russell Conte said the truck involved was towing a modular home southbound on I-93 just north of the Hooksett tolls.
It was later located in a rest area off Interstate 95 in Maine. Something sprang a full wheel assembly from the trailer and it rolled or bounced into the other lane, striking an unmarked state police cruiser driven by state police director Col. Robert Quinn and rebounding back into southbound traffic around 8:10 a.m.
"You're talking about a tire and hub assembly that probably weighs quite a bit and also has all the inertia. It's not just a rubber tire," Conte said during a news conference.
The wheel struck a southbound sport-utility vehicle, causing fatal injuries to the driver, identified as Kerry Anderson-Baker, 40, of Concord.
State police identified the driver of the truck as Alan Condon, 51, of Oakfield, Maine. The truck is owned by Crawford Homes of Houlton, Maine.
Conte said New Hampshire authorities are working with officials from Maine to have the truck returned to the state for inspection. Conte said the truck was followed by an escort vehicle, but he did not say if it was directly behind the trailer at the time of the accident.
"We've got a lot of people to talk to," Conte said.
Conte said although the trailer has multiple wheels, investigators believe it is unlikely the truck driver failed to notice losing one of them. Police were still searching for the truck a few hours after the accident.
"We have no information that this could have been avoided," Conte said. The truck proceeded to the tolls, where the driver paid and continued southbound. Witnesses told police the truck stopped shortly after the toll, but they did not know whether the driver got out and inspected the vehicle.
"The concern really is what happened after," said Merrimack County Attorney Scott W. Murray. Conte said a state police cruiser, parked with its blue lights on a construction site about 50 miles north in the Lebanon area, took a photograph of a tractor-trailer hauling a modular home heading south on Interstate 89 about an hour before the crash in Hooksett. Investigators believe that tractor-trailer might be the one involved in the accident.
He explained most state police cruisers are fitted with cameras which are automatically activated when the blue emergency lights are on.
State Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who has information about it or the driver of the tractor-trailer to call them at 271-3636.
(Union Leader reporter Pat Grossmith also contributed to this story.)