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Oyster River High School junior's death called a shared tragedy

Union Leader Correspondent

April 11. 2018 12:48PM
State police are investigating a fatal crash on Interstate 95 in New Hampton that claimed the life of Jonathan Fairchild, 16, of Durham. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

DURHAM — Family, classmates and Oyster River School District officials were mourning the loss of Jonathan Fairchild on Tuesday, a day after he was killed in a crash on Interstate 95.

A number of support services were put in place to help students and staff grieve the 16-year-old, said Superintendent James Morse.

“This is a tragedy that we share with the family,” Morse said in a letter to parents and students posted on Facebook Tuesday.

Fairchild’s 2008 Honda Odyssey minivan crashed into a cement bridge support in Hampton on I-95 around 5:20 p.m.; he died at the scene.

State Police Lt. John Hennessey said the teenager was headed south when he went off the highway and traveled a short distance on the grassy median before striking the abutment for the Route 84 overpass.

Hennessey said that based on the damage to the minivan, speed was a factor in the crash.

Morse sent out a notification to parents Monday night at 8:30 p.m., saying the school district had activated a crisis team to provide support. Counselors were made available for students and staff across the school district, the notification said.

“We are so sad for the family and for his friends and staff who worked with him,” Morse said Tuesday morning.

ORHS student Sarah Levine took math with Fairchild and said Tuesday it is hard to believe he is gone.

“I don’t have a specific fun story but I just remember him by his big glasses, his nice smile, his laugh, his voice and how he always asked a lot of questions. He was the only one in the class that called our teacher Mrs. Johnson. We still called her Ms. Chagnon after her maiden name,” Levine said. “He was always very nice and friendly.”

Morse said within the school system, there was a coordinated response from the New Hampshire Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team, consultants available from the National Alliance for Mental Illness and coordinated efforts by Oyster River counselors, psychologists, nurses and teachers.

Morse said school officials will continue to work with state police, who are investigating the crash. Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to contact Trooper James Powers at 679-3333.

A private email account has been set up to provide an opportunity for community members to share thoughts and memories with the Fairchild family. The email address is

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