HAMPTON, N.H. (CBS/AP) – What was supposed to be a fun ride for hundreds of bikers ends in tragedy this weekend in Hampton.
Police say a car driven by 20-year-old Darriean Hess plowed into a group of bikers taking part in the annual Granite State Wheelman Tri-State Seacoast Century Ride on Saturday morning.
“It’s heartbreaking,” one rider said.
Police say Hess crossed over into the north bound lane and struck four bicyclists. Killed was 52-year-old Elise Bouchard of Danvers, Mass., and 60-year-old Pamela Wells of South Hamilton, Mass. Two other bikers were injured.
Pamela Wells’ husband, Tom Rogers, said on his Facebook page Saturday night, “The love of my life, my dear sweet Pam was killed this morning in a horrible accident. Pam was the best thing that ever happened to me. We will all miss her greatly.”
Neighbors of Elise Bouchard are shocked and heartbroken. “It’s just a shame. I am so shocked. She was a pretty little girl,” neighbor Ed Brophy said.
Bikers who witnessed the horror were terrified. “It’s tragic. Absolutely tragic! This race has been going on for 40 years and this is awful,” biker Chris Bailey said.
Police are still trying to figure out why Hess lost control of her car. As of Saturday night, no charges had been filed against her. Police are still investigating the crash.
The crash occurred at about 8:30 a.m. at the Underwood Bridge on Ocean Boulevard, the Hampton Police Department reported in a prepared statement.
The injured cyclists were identified as Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, Mass., and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers, Mass. After the crash, Uhmeyer was taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Heigh was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Mass., the police said.
Hess, who lives in Seabrook, was taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The cyclists were traveling north on Ocean Boulevard just starting over the Underwood Bridge in the moments before the crash. Hess’ vehicle was traveling south over the bridge then crossed over into the north bound lane and struck the four bicyclists, the police said.
A section of Ocean Boulevard, also known as Route 1A, was closed off while police investigated the crash but the road reopened around 2 p.m., Hampton Deputy Police Chief Richard Sawyer said.
Sawyer said riders had to be routed around the bridge closure while police investigated.
The ride’s route typically follows the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coastlines, according to the event’s website.
The event includes rides of up to 100 miles on Saturday and Sunday. Riders were encouraged to follow all the rules of the road as they encountered narrow colonial New England roads, steel decked bridges and weekend traffic, according to the event’s website.
The ride is organized by Granite State Wheelmen, a bicycling club.
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