CANDIA — According to Candia police, five people ended up in the hospital after a car accident Saturday at Raymond Road and Main Street in a potentially preventable accident had the Deerfield Fair Association hired the department put a police detail at the intersection.
Candia Police Chief Mike McGillen said that in years past the Deerfield Fair Association paid the Candia Police Department to put police details at hazardous areas to ensure the safety of drivers and regulate traffic flow out of the fair.
“They did not pay last year either, but they had low turnout last year due to rain, but on a year like this with high turnout it can be a problem. I do think it is dangerous to not have the details,” McGillen said.
McGillen said that the details stopped being deployed about two years ago when the Candia Board of Selectmen upped the hourly rate for the details. The current rate charged by the town for a police detail is $50 an hour. McGillen said that the cost of hiring the details would have cost the fair about $3,000 for three days.
“When we were discussing the rate increase, (fair officials) said they wanted to save money, that was the common theme. Hopefully we can get some dialogue going and get this resolved before next year’s fair,” McGillen said.
With about 155,000 people attending the fair over the four days it was open, McGillen said that this year’s fair was much busier than last year’s fair, which also didn’t have Candia police details.
“It was rainy and not many people came (last year). But this year, they cleaned house, good for them.”
McGillen said that the accident on Saturday occurred when a family of four, including two children, was on its way home from the fair, and tried to make a left onto Main St., but was struck by a pickup truck with a single occupant.
“The pickup had right of way, but there have been numerous accidents at that intersection,” McGillen said.
Deerfield Fair Association President Dave O’Neal said that the decision to no longer use Candia police details happened before he became president, and as such he can not comment on it.
“It was before my time, I wasn’t there when the decision was made. I am not sure of the circumstances or the story. I do know that we do have police details around the fair. The chief in Deerfield does it,” O’Neal said.
Along with the accident, McGillen said he was informed by state police that on Saturday traffic was backed up on Route 101 to Exit 1.
“They weren’t happy,” he said.