Driver who died in fiery crash at Bedford tolls identified as Bow manBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
March 29. 2018 2:29PM
BEDFORD — The driver who perished in a fiery crash at the F.E. Everett Turnpike toll plaza has been identified as Caleb Scofield, 39, of Bow.
Scofield died Wednesday afternoon when his vehicle burst into flames after crashing at high speed into the Bedford toll plaza.
The vehicle, believed to be a silver truck, was so badly damaged in the crash and fire that authorities were unable to determine the identity or gender of the victim.
The truck hit so hard that it dislodged the large concrete barrier that protects the front of the toll booth. “They moved part of the concrete barrier right out of the toll plaza — I have never seen that happen,” state police Sgt. Bryan Trask said. The chunk of concrete, perhaps six feet in diameter, came to rest in the middle of the next lane.
Police said the truck was traveling north on the F.E. Everett Turnpike shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday when it attempted to move from the fourth lane into the third lane.
“It appears the subject was trying to change lanes right before they entered the toll plaza and didn’t make the lane quite clear and crashed into the barrier,” Trask said.
Police believe the vehicle hit the concrete barrier and rolled over as it continued through the toll lane. The metal structure above the booth, which helps support the plaza roof, was damaged as well.
The truck burst into flames immediately upon contact with the barrier.
At least one witness tried to get into the vehicle to help the driver, but the vehicle was too damaged, according to Trask.
“The truck had become fully engulfed with the person still in the vehicle,” he said.
Police are looking for information from anyone who witnessed the accident.
No one other than Scofield was injured. The damaged lanes were E-ZPass automatic toll lanes; the booths were unoccupied. The lanes will remain closed until repairs are made.
Authorities are attempting to view any video or photographs of the accident.
Trask said there had been no reports of any erratic or unusual driving on the turnpike before the crash.
For about two hours after the crash, traffic from the northbound side of the turnpike was diverted onto Exit 13 toward South River Road and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. The toll plaza was reopened around 3:30 p.m.
An autopsy on Scofield is expected to be conducted Thursday at the state Medical Examiner’s office.
Last May, a similar crash occurred on the southbound side of the toll plaza. A 22-year-old Manchester man was thrown from his vehicle and died after the car smashed into a cement barrier at the tollbooth.