Merrimack double fatal

Two people died in a head-on crash early Thursday morning on the turnpike in Merrimack.

Moments before an April 15 head-on collision on the F. E. Everett Turnpike that killed both drivers, a witness called 911 to report a vehicle had made a U-turn on the highway and was driving in the wrong direction, state police reported Wednesday.

Vincent Forgione, 24, of Bedford was behind the wheel of a 2009 Honda Ridgeline that was traveling north in the southbound lane when it struck the 2016 Audi driven by 20-year-old Elizabeth Croke of Merrimack, according to a news release confirming their identities.

State troopers said they had been searching for the Honda less than 20 minutes before a report about the crash shortly after midnight near exit 13. At least one of the vehicles was engulfed in flames.

“Impaired operation on the part of Forgione is a suspected contributing factor,” said state police, who are continuing to investigate the crash.

Croke graduated from Bishop Guertin High School in 2019, according to an obituary published Wednesday in the Union Leader. She attended Lehigh University and went on to study kinesiology at UMass Amherst.

“Elizabeth was well-known in the community for her participation in numerous sports and her love for her family and friends,” the obituary said. “Her larger-than-life personality and contagious laugh let everyone know she was in the room.”

Forgione grew up in Derry and graduated in 2015 from Windham High School, where he was co-captain of the hockey and lacrosse team, according to an obituary posted at Carrier Family Funeral Home. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in finance and worked for Merchants Fleet in Hooksett.

"Vinny lived in the moment. He was grateful for everything he was given in life," the obituary said. "He loved to connect with people and was happy to chat about anything from his love of mashed potatoes to the latest travel adventures."

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