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Police likely to ask DMV to review Sen. Fuller Clark's license after accident

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 04. 2013 3:53PM

Portsmouth police on Monday said they will likely ask the state DMV to review the driver's license of state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, who struck a pedestrian this past weekend after blacking out at the wheel.

Portsmouth police will likely not seek criminal charges against Clark but will ask the state Division of Motor Vehicles to review her license, said police Capt. Frank Warchol. Such reviews can result in a license suspension, a medical evaluation or other remedies, according to the DMV.

Meanwhile, the pedestrian struck in the Friday accident on Maplewood Avenue said Clark shouldn't be allowed to drive.

"I think it's negligent to drive ... when you know there's something wrong with you," Kittery Point, Maine, resident Carla Dow told Seacoast Online. Her comments were confirmed Monday by her companion, Paul Norris.

Norris said Dow, 67, is sore everywhere after the Friday crash and does not want to speak to reporters.

Friday's accident was the second Portsmouth accident in two months' time for Clark, a long-term elected official from Portsmouth who is the second highest-ranking official in the New Hampshire Democratic Party hierarchy.

In the earlier accident, her car jumped a median curb and hit a sign with a merge-right arrow, Warchol said. That accident took place Sept. 8 on Greenland Road. No ticket was issued, and no other person or vehicle was involved, police said.

A message left for Clark Monday on her home telephone answering machine was not returned.

After the Friday accident, Clark told police she blacked out at the wheel of her 2010 Audi, police said. Warchol said the accident took place after dark on Friday night. Dow was treated and released from a local hospital, and Clark's vehicle was able to be driven away after the accident.

Police can ask for an administrative review of a license when an accident involves a fatality or serious injury, when a driver makes a false statement on a license or registration application, for medical reasons, for improper driving or for incompetency.

According to DVM spokesman Gregg Champlin, the review is handled out of the office of the director of the DMV. Potential outcomes include license suspension, a re-test for a license, a request for a medical evaluation or a formal DMV hearing, he said.

Clark is the first vice chairman of the state Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee, according to the state Democratic Party website.

She is currently serving her fourth two-year term as a state senator representing Portsmouth. She was a state representative from Portsmouth from 1990 to 2002. In 2002, she ran for the U.S. House from the First Congressional District but lost to Republican Jeb Bradley.

She is the wife of a physician, Dr. Geoffrey Clark, and they have three children.

Warchol said it shouldn't take long for Portsmouth police to conclude their investigation.

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