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June 26. 2013 10:34PM

Driver OK, but not youth group's van in Alton crash

ALTON — Luck and misfortune collided on Route 28 Tuesday morning when the director of a local youth nonprofit walked away unharmed from a serious car crash that left the group without transportation.

David Lynch, director of the Wolfeboro-based Appalachian Mountain Teen Project, which serves at-risk youth throughout the region, said the group's board and members are scrambling to find a replacement vehicle for the 20 or so excursions planned with about 47 teens this summer.

The Toyota Sienna 2004 eight-passenger van was struck by a 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Thomas Rollins, 47, of Merrimack, who had pulled out of Roberts Cove Road onto Route 28 without stopping at the stop sign, according to Alton police.

"He basically drove through the van and carried the whole hood of the van and engine with him to the opposite side of Route 28, then finally stopped," said Lynch, who said he suffered only a slight burn from where the air bag struck him.

"If I had been one more second further along the road, or if I didn't brake as quickly, I may not be here at all," Lynch said.

He is uncertain how much AMTP's insurance company will cover. The van was in good shape, but is nearly 10 years old.

The AMTP summer trip schedule includes 20 trips to a variety of destinations — hiking, biking, swimming, amusement parks, rock climbing, canoeing, and even the Portland Symphony and Fireworks display.

"Our program was already hurting financially after the state cut funding for prevention and diversion programs in 2011," Lynch said. "We've been running pretty much on grants from foundations and donation, and some towns, and the school district, also help us out, but we're really, really struggling to keep our head above water and provide the great level of service," he said.

Lynch asked that anyone with a van to loan or donate, or donations for a replacement vehicle call him at 569-5510 or email him at daveamtp@yahoo.com. For more information, go to www.teenprojectnh.com.

lmulkern@newstote.com


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