Fallen tree knocks out power, stalls traffic in Windham

A large tree struck a utility pole, knocking out power in Windham at about 4:30 p.m. Friday, according to officials.

WINDHAM — State and local police continue to investigate an accident in which a car struck a local police officer who was directing traffic at a busy intersection at rush hour Friday night, officials said.

Officer Chris Van Hirtum received non-life-threatening injuries after the 4:30 p.m. accident at 124 Indian Rock Road, the location of a McDonald’s restaurant.

Officials later stated the accident scene was in the vicinity of McDonald’s near the intersection of Route 111 and Range Road.

Authorities reported that the officer was conscious and alert after the accident.

Van Hirtum was transported to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for treatment. State police officials said Friday night they were sending troopers to the hospital to interview Van Hirtum.

Windham police officials said the driver of the car who struck Van Hirtum, Sean Horton, 48, of Salem, is cooperating with authorities.

State police officials said Norton was making a left turn onto Range Road from Route 111 west when he struck the officer.

The preliminary investigation revealed sun glare and the malfunctioning traffic signals were contributing factors to the accident.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Trooper John Tyo at 223-4381 or by email at John.Tyo@dos.nh.gov.

Van Hirtum was directing traffic due to a power outage caused by a fallen tree along Route 111. The outage knocked out traffic signals at three major intersections on Route 111, officials said.

Liberty Utilities confirmed that the crash had knocked out power to nearly all of its 546 customers in town, but power was restored later Friday night.

Weather forecasters said a cold front brought in high winds gusting to more than 40 mph Friday night which continued into Saturday afternoon.

At 6 p.m. Friday there were more than 5,000 customers in the state without power, according to the four largest electric utility companies in New Hampshire.

All customers eventually had their power restored, but another round of outages early Saturday knocked out electricity to 4,000 other customers, more than half of those in Concord.

By 5 p.m. Saturday the number without power was down to about 1,300 statewide, with the largest outages in Bradford (492), Alexandria (200), Newbury (147), Plaistow (133) and Warner (118).

Friday, January 22, 2021