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Man charged after East Hampstead woman dies in New Year's Eve crash

HAMPSTEAD - A Massachusetts man was arraigned from his hospital bed Wednesday on vehicular homicide and drunken-driving charges after a New Year's Eve crash that killed a woman from East Hampstead.

Mikhael Sarkis, 50, of Lawrence, is being held on $100,000 bail after Salisbury, Mass., police charged him with vehicular homicide, two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury, having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and failure to wear a seat belt.

His front-seat passenger, Donna Bergeron, 41, died in the crash.

"Alcohol was found in the vehicle, but we still don't know exactly what it was yet. Obviously this is a tragic case where alcohol and driving are involved. There really needs to be zero tolerance," Salisbury Police Chief Tom Fowler said.

The accident happened around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 when a Lincoln Town Car driven by Sarkis struck a Mercury Grand Marquis head-on. He said Sarkis was driving north on the southbound side of the Route 1 Gillis Bridge in Salisbury at the time of the accident.

Bergeron, who worked at the Atkinson Country Club, was extricated from the vehicle but later died from her injuries. Sarkis suffered serious injuries and remains hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Another passenger was also hospitalized with less serious injuries.

The driver of the Mercury Marquis, Corey Burgess, 20, of Salisbury, Mass., was sent to the hospital as well, but Fowler said his injuries were not life-threatening.

Sarkis is due in court on Jan. 30 at Newburyport District Court.

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