LEBANON, N.H. (AP) — A former Fortune 500 executive told police he was trying to kill himself when he drove his pickup truck across the grassy median of a New Hampshire highway and slammed into an SUV, killing the expectant Vermont couple inside, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Robert Dellinger, 53, of Sunapee, is charged with two counts of reckless manslaughter in connection with the crash that killed 29-year-old Jason Timmons and 24-year-old Amanda Murphy, who was eight months pregnant.
Prosecutors said Dellinger’s truck crossed the median on Interstate 89 on Saturday, became airborne and sheared off the top of the couple’s car, killing them instantly. The medical examiner’s report said the injuries they suffered were consistent with a plane crash.
Dellinger was arraigned by video. He sat at a table and stared down for most of the proceeding. His wife, sons and about a dozen other supporters left court without speaking to reporters.
Dellinger served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at PPG Industries Inc., taking a severance package worth more than $1 million in cash plus stocks, when he left the company in 2011 because of health reasons, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Dellinger, who also held top-level posts at Sprint Corp., Delphi Corp. and General Electric Co., bought a home on Sunapee Lake in November 2012, according to property records.
Susan Morrell, senior assistant attorney general for New Hampshire, said Dellinger argued with his wife over his medications on the morning of the crash. He left the house and began to drive around, growing increasingly despondent, she said. A trooper said Dellinger said he intended to kill himself.
Dellinger’s lawyer, R. Peter Decato, called the state’s comments “over the top” and argued for low bail, saying Dellinger clearly has mental health problems and needs treatment.
A judge ordered him held on $250,000 cash bail, which his family was ready to post Wednesday. He’ll also have to get a mental health evaluation, wear an electronic monitor, surrender his passport and driver’s licenses and not drive a car.
He will have to stay in New Hampshire despite a request by his lawyer to allow him to travel for mental health treatment in Kansas, where he has property.
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