A Gilford woman recently indicted on charges of striking and injuring a bicyclist in Laconia with her Mercedes SUV initially told police that she had hit a deer about an hour before police stopped her.
“I was driving down the street and saw horns and then heard a loud bang,” Savannah Williams, 35, told Laconia police officer Jonathan C. Milne, according to an affidavit. “It all happened so fast I just kind of blacked out.”
Williams was charged with conduct after an accident with death or injury resulting and providing a false report after an accident with death or injury resulting. Both charges are Class B felonies punishable by between 3 1/2 and 7 years in prison.
Milne wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that on Oct. 14, 2020, he responded shortly before 11 p.m. to the 300 block of Messer Street in Laconia for a report of a bicyclist struck by a vehicle that fled the scene.
Milne spoke with the victim, identified only as a 25-year old man, who told Milne that “all he remembered was looking back, seeing headlights, and then waking up on the side of the road.”
The victim suffered what Milne described as “a large laceration to his head, scrapes and bruises on the rest of his body.”
Witnesses told Milne that they attempted to follow the vehicle, which they said was a dark-colored Mercedes-Benz SUV with out-of-state plates driven by a woman.
Milne said he found an orange-and-black bicycle in the road near the intersection of Messer and Lyford streets, which is about a quarter-mile south of where he encountered the victim. Upon returning to the area where the bicyclist was struck, Milne found the front tire of the bike and the bicycle seat as well as a Mercedes emblem from a vehicle.
Just a little more than an hour later, Milne said he was contacted by Franklin police who told him they had located the suspect vehicle, a 2015 Mercedes SUV with Mississippi plates, on Baldwin Street. The vehicle’s front end was “heavily damaged,” said Milne, “and was missing the Mercedes emblem,” while a plastic shopping bag was stuck to the vehicle’s hood.
Milne said Williams had called Franklin police to advise them she “was involved in an accident with a deer” about an hour earlier in Laconia.
Milne said Williams said she had thought about calling police immediately after the incident, “but her vehicle still worked and she was going to call when she arrived in Franklin.”
During an interview with police on Oct. 22, however, Williams told investigators that “a bicyclist came out in front of her so fast that she did not have time to react,” Milne wrote, adding that as she was cresting a hill, Williams claimed that “the bicyclist was in the roadway and she did not see him in time to avoid a collision.”
Court records say Williams is free on bail pending an April 6 settlement conference in Belknap County Superior Court.