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Bristol crash probed to determine if driver was impaired

Union Leader Correspondent

February 04. 2014 7:28PM

BRISTOL — A Franklin man and woman remain in critical condition after an accident Monday on Route 104, and police said they believe the driver may have been operating under the influence

The two, both in their 20s, have not been identified by police as authorities had not notified their next of kin, said Lt. Kris Bean. Both were admitted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon late Tuesday.

About 3 p.m. Monday, the male patient was driving an SUV west on Route 104 near the R.P. Williams lumber yard when the SUV crossed the center line of the road and collided with a state Department of Transportation backhoe, police said.

The backhoe driver was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital with a leg injury. He was not at fault in the accident, said Police Chief Michael Lewis.

Police obtained search warrants to perform drug and alcohol tests on the driver, and late Tuesday they were still waiting for results.

"From what I've been told, we are not expecting alcohol to have been a factor," Bean said, adding that police officers on the scene found evidence of drug use by the driver.

On Monday night, Lewis said the driver of the SUV may face charges.

"We are working on a criminal case with relation to the driver," Lewis said.

Bean said police expect to make a formal announcement on the case today, and will identify the driver and passenger then.

Both accident victims were flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, authorities said. A section of Route 104 was closed for more than three hours, police said, and the road was used as a landing zone for the helicopter.

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