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Authorities say driver was using cell phone before Christmas Eve crash that killed Brookline mom

Union Leader Correspondent

June 02. 2014 9:42PM

NASHUA — A Milford man has been indicted for negligent homicide after allegedly causing a Christmas Eve crash that killed a Brookline mother of three.

According to the newly filed court documents, Greg Cullen, 31, was allegedly “distracted by his cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle,” thereby causing the crash that resulted in the death of Katie Hamilton, 30, of Brookline.

Police said Hamilton was traveling south on Route 13 at the intersection with Route 130 near the Brookline Safety Complex. Her vehicle was hit from behind by a Toyota Tundra driven by Cullen, according to police.

The impact propelled Hamilton’s Ford Explorer into the northbound lane, where it was hit by oncoming traffic. Her car was struck broadside by a Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by James Ciprotti, 37, of Weare.

Hamilton’s father, Stephen Whitcomb, is a volunteer firefighter who responded to the three-car crash involving his daughter last December. Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene.

She was a Zumba instructor and helped operate her father’s plumbing business, Whitcomb Plumbing and Heating. She was also a mother of three daughters, 2, 4 and 9.

The accident, coupled with a separate fatal crash the day before that claimed the life of John Backman, a former Amherst fire chief, prompted New Hampshire lawmakers to pass legislation banning the hand-held use of cellphones or other electronic devices while driving.

In the Amherst case, Travis Hobbs, 20, of Mont Vernon, was allegedly using his cell phone when the car he was driving struck and killed Bachman, 71, outside of Bachman’s Amherst home. Hobbs has also been indicted on a charge of negligent homicide, in addition to a charge of conduct after an accident.

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