Two people died and one is facing criminal charges after the crash Sunday of an off-road vehicle on private property in Candia.
James Shankle, 48, was being held Monday in Rockingham County Jail on charges of negligent homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated. An arraignment was set for Tuesday.
Shankle was driving a utility terrain vehicle with two passengers on his property off Chester Road when the vehicle struck a tree about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, New Hampshire Fish and Game Officer Cole Letourneau said.
Shankle was treated and released from a hospital and brought to jail.
Killed in the crash were Alan Juza, 62, of Goffstown, and Renee Shankle, 50, Fish and Game said in a news release.
Candia property records show James and Renee Shankle own a home on 21 acres at 370 Chester Road. JWS Custom Decks, James Shankle’s business, is also based at that address, according to the company’s website.
The three were in a vehicle that allowed side-by-side seating up front and included a flatbed in back for carrying supplies, Letourneau said.
Off-road vehicles, which have been gaining in popularity, can be dangerous if the driver is inexperienced or if they are being driven too fast.
A mother and son from Auburn died in June when their side-by-side off-road vehicle crashed into a tree off Beaver Rock Road. Speed was a factor in that crash, which killed the driver, Craig Ford, 34, and his mother, Wendy Ford, 51, police said.
On Saturday, four people were injured in separate accidents involving off-road vehicles in northern New Hampshire, according to another Fish and Game news release. Two of the crashes were in Jericho State Park in Berlin, one was on the Presidential Rail Trail in Gorham and one was on Farr Road in Pittsburg.
People often use these vehicles without adequate knowledge of how they should be operated, Letourneau said.
“It doesn’t take much to get into a bad situation,” he said. “We’ve seen accidents on the Rockingham Recreation Trail where they hit a bump funny and it overturns on them.
“Even for an experienced rider, weather can cause erosion on a trail, or you can take a turn a little differently and get into trouble. Darkness can be a factor. If you are traveling at any speed in the woods, it doesn’t take much to be off your course.”
Fish and Game Capt. Michael Eastman encourages people to take a training course in the use of off-highway vehicles.
“A lot of people don’t understand they are not meant for the road and that off-road it’s possible to roll them over going into a ditch, or even hitting a rock,” he said.
“They’re not meant to be used going 50 mph down a logging road.”