Woman charged in fatal Hampton crash wants blood-test thrown out of court
BRENTWOOD — A woman charged with killing two bicyclists during an annual cycling event in Hampton wants her blood samples that were collected by police thrown out of court.
Public defenders for Darriean Hess said prosecutors should not be able to use toxicology results to prove she was allegedly under the influence of Fentanyl, Klonopin and Percocet while driving along Route 1A last Sept. 21.
The crash claimed the lives of Pamela Wells, 60, and Elise Bouchard, 52, both of Massachusetts, as they were participating in the Granite State Wheelmen Seacoast Century Ride. Hess faces manslaughter, negligent homicide and other charges in the deaths of Wells and Bouchard and the injuries two others suffered.
Public defender Anthony Naro argued in court papers that Hess, 20, of Seabrook, did not realize the consequences of agreeing to the blood draw.
Police asked her to provide samples of her blood shortly after the crash. Naro also argued that Hess was too disoriented by the crash to make a fully cognizant decision about allowing police to test her for being impaired behind the wheel. Hess agreed to undergo testing by a police officer certified as a drug recognition expert.
One witness — a retired New Hampshire State Police major — described Hess as “visibly upset, crying and sobbing,” after her vehicle went off the road, according to Naro. “She kept rocking back and forth in her seat.”
Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said Hess knew what was going on around her immediately after the crash.
“Several times, (she) said ‘I’m in big trouble’ and ‘I’m in so much trouble,’” Conway said in a court filing.
Conway also suggested that Hess lied to the police about her whereabouts before she went off the road.
Hess allegedly told a police sergeant she was driving from her sister’s house on Ashworth Avenue, according to prosecutors.
“The police later learned that this was not true as (she) later admitted that she was coming from Cindy Sheppard’s house,” Conway said.
Sheppard, 48, of Hampton, received a two- to six year prison sentence last week after pleading guilty to drug charges, including providing Hess with a dose of Fentanyl. Sheppard was already serving an identical sentence on drug charges that she pleaded guilty to in January. The two sentences are running concurrently.
Conway said in court papers that when Hess was at the hospital to have her blood drawn, she “appeared to be lethargic, her eyelids were droopy and her voice was raspy. Her pupils appeared to be constricted.”
A hospital technician attempted several times to draw Hess’ blood, but was unsuccessful, according to Conway. After a second hospital technician had difficulty in drawing Hess’ blood, Hess “became annoyed and stated, ‘there are a million veins in the human body, there’s probably one you can get,” according to Conway.
A judge is expected to hear testimony and legal arguments about the blood test on Oct. 6. Hess is expected to go on trial Nov. 17.