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Passer-by performs CPR on motorcyclist

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 21. 2012 9:38PM

A state trooper inspects a Harley Davidson after the rider lost control on a sweeping turn and crashed down an embankment on Interstate 93 South on the Interstate 293 North split in Manchester yesterday morning. (DAVID LANE/ UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - Tow-truck driver Terry Liebfried knew something was wrong as he merged from southbound Interstate 93 to I-293 when he noticed a motorcycle parked on one side of the highway and a car on the other Wednesday morning.

A former firefighter, Liebfried recognized it was an accident scene, pulled over and rushed to help a motorcyclist who had veered off the highway and tumbled down a small embankment.

'He looked pretty rough,' said Liebfried, who said he found a weak pulse when he checked the man lying next to the mangled Harley-Davidson.

An EMT showed up just as Liebfried was about to begin CPR and the two men joined in trying to save the driver's life. Liebfried did chest compressions as the EMT tried to keep the driver breathing.

'I don't know if it was 5 minutes or 15. It seemed like an hour,' said Liebfried, a driver for Morgan's Towing in Epping. 'Any time you're waiting for an ambulance to show it always seems like forever.'

The motorcyclist was taken to Elliot Hospital, but his name had not been released as of Wednesday evening, and there was no report on his condition.

'I really hope he's going to be OK,' said Liebfried, a former volunteer firefighter in East Kingston.

The run of unseasonably warm weather has people celebrating spring earlier than usual and motorcyclists are no exception. New Hampshire State Police advise drivers who are dusting off their bikes after several months to take it easy on their first rides of the season.

'It's not something you do all year long,' said Sgt. Joe DiRusso, motorcycle unit commander for the state police. 'I think there's greater chance of these things happening early season.'

DiRusso said state police motorcycles won't be on the road until troopers take a one-week refresher course, likely in April.

Earlier Wednesday, a 44-year-old man rear-ended a car in Hudson, causing him to be thrown from his motorcycle. Hudson police say the man suffered injuries to his lower legs.

On Monday, 47-year-old Edward Johnson of Hampton crashed on Route 1 just south of the Route 101 interchange around 7:20 a.m. He was pronounced dead later that night.

Trooper Chris Rosata of the New Hampshire State Police, one of the first officers at Wednesday's crash at I-93 and I-293, hailed Liebfried's efforts.

'I thought he was an EMT because he was wearing a vest,' Rosata said.

Liebfried, 35, said he only did what he felt was the right thing to do.

'I've dealt with some rough stuff over the years. It definitely shakes you up a little bit. I'm more concerned about his condition at this point,' Liebfried said. 'I kind of hope if something ever happens to me, somebody else does the same thing. I don't really think it was anything special.'

The motorcyclist was riding with a group of friends when the accident happened just beyond where southbound I-93 connects with I-293 north on a sweeping curve east of the Mall of New Hampshire.

A trail of debris, starting with the motorcycle's windshield, ran about 25 yards down a slight hill to where the motorcycle came to rest near a grove of trees. A helmet lay next to the wreckage, although Rosata said it wasn't immediately clear whether the rider had been wearing it.

The left lane of Interstate 93, south of Exit 6, and the on-ramp to Route 293 were closed and traffic backed up as the wreckage was cleared.

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