UPDATE: Could be 'months' before deciding on charges in crash involving Dover city councilor
By TIM BUCKLAND New Hampshire Union Leader
DOVER - It could take months to determine whether City Councilor Michael Weeden may be charged in a head-on collision which led to the death of a Somersworth man Monday.
Martin J. Carignan, 87, of 22 Tates Brook Road, Somersworth, succumbed to his injuries from the accident and was pronounced dead Tuesday at 3:10 p.m. in Massachusetts General Hospital.
Carignan was driving a 2008 silver Chevrolet Aveo which collided head-on with a 2012 Chrysler 300 operated by Weeden. The accident occurred Monday morning near Weeden's home along Sixth Street.
Police said Weeden was attempting to buckle his seat belt when his vehicle veered into the oncoming lane.
Like other fatal accidents, Police Capt. Bill Breault said it could take several weeks to determine what factors contributed to the crash."
Part of that process will be to rule out possible causes such as speed, driver impairment, driver distraction, weather conditions, road conditions and lighting, to name a few," Breault said in an email.
Once the investigation is complete, Breault said the matter will be turned over to the Strafford County Attorney's Office, which "will determine what if any charges will be filed."
Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi said it is much too early to make a determination, especially as police dropped off initial information Wednesday afternoon. He added every case is different and not all accidents result in charges or convictions.
Velardi said this case will receive the same amount of attention and diligence as any other matter.
"It's another collision and we have to determine whether there are any criminal aspects of the case," Velardi said, adding he anticipates the process to take some time as they must wait for the results of an autopsy to determine whether any medical issues were a factor.
Weeden sustained minor injuries while Carignan was sent to Wentworth Douglass Hospital before being transferred to Boston for serious head injuries.
The northbound lane of Sixth Street was closed for about an hour while police, firefighters and emergency personnel assisted the two drivers. Both vehicles, which were seriously damaged, had to be towed from the scene, according to Breault.
While Weeden could not be contacted Wednesday, he previously told Foster's Daily Democrat that he was "heartbroken" and that he had reached out to Carignan's family.
Previous story follows:
DOVER — An 87-year-old Somersworth man died Tuesday from injuries he suffered in a head-on collision Monday with a car driven by City Councilor Michael Weeden, according to police Capt. Bill Breault.
Breault said Weeden told police that he pulled out of his driveway at 365 Sixth St. on Monday morning and was putting on his seat belt when he crossed into the opposite lane and into the path of Martin J. Carignan, who was driving on Sixth Street.
"He did leave his lane and went completely into the other lane," Breault said of Weeden, who was treated at the scene of the crash for minor injuries.
Carignan was taken to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, then transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Weeden told Fosters Daily Democrat Monday that his "thoughts and prayers" were with Carignan and his family.
Breault said police continue to investigate the crash and, following an investigation, will consult with the Strafford County Attorney's Office to determine whether charges will be filed.