N.H. woman held on $10,000 bail for allegedly providing drug to young woman involved in double fatal crash
HAMPTON, N.H. — A 48-year-old New Hampshire woman was ordered held today on $10,000 cash bail on charges that she provided the prescription drug fentanyl to a young woman who later crashed a car into a group of bicyclists, killing two people from Massachusetts.
Cindy Sheppard of Hampton is also charged with allowing Darriean Hess, 19, of Seabrook, N.H., to drive the car, even though Hess didn’t have a license, before the Saturday morning crash on Route 1A in Hampton.
Sheppard was arraigned in Hampton District Court via videoconference with the Rockingham County Jail on charges of sale of controlled narcotics and knowingly letting an unlicensed person drive a car. Sheppard, who was arrested Wednesday night, was also out on bail on a previous drug charge.
“We anticipate additional charges may be forthcoming,” said police prosecutor Steve Champey.
Champey said investigators were trying to determine if Hess had taken the drug Sheppard provided her and whether taking the drug had affected Hess’s driving in the crash.
Hampton police also announced this afternoon that Scott Martin, 19, of Seabrook, the owner of the car that Hess was driving, would be summonsed to court Oct. 23 on a charge of allowing an improper person to operate his car.
“It is alleged that ... Mr. Martin allowed Ms. Darrieann Hess to operate his 2002 Honda vehicle, knowing she was not licensed to do so,” Hampton police said in a statement.
Arguing at the hearing for a lower bail for Sheppard, defense attorney Neil Reardon said Sheppard has lived nearly her whole life in New Hampshire, all her friends and family are in the state, she is a double amputee, and she has pending leg surgery.
Judge Mark Weaver set a probable cause hearing for Oct. 9.
Hess was arraigned Wednesday on charges of negligent homicide and second-degree assault. She was ordered held on $50,000 bail.
Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers were killed in the crash, which happened at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The two were friends who had trained for the Tri-State Seacoast Century ride together, along with Margo Heigh, a Danvers woman injured in the crash. A fourth rider — Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex — was also injured.
Uhmeyer was treated for fractured neck vertebrae, a concussion, and bleeding behind the eye, among other injuries, court records stated. Heigh was treated for broken bones.
A witness who was a retired New Hampshire State Police major said he saw Hess’s car, traveling at a high rate of speed, cross into the opposite lane and crash into the group of bicyclists, who were riding single-file along the far edge of the road.
The witness said he went to Hess’s car after the crash and she told him she had taken her eyes off the road for a few seconds.
Hess had been stopped for speeding at about 12:46 a.m. Saturday — less than eight hours before the accident — in virtually the same location. Police wouldn’t let her drive, so she was picked up by Sheppard.
In a police report filed in court, a detective said that Hess told police “that she had spent the night with Ms. Sheppard … in Hampton, and that Ms. Sheppard had provided her with Fentanyl.”
Hess also told police, according to the report, that Sheppard took control of the car and keys at the time of the traffic stop but “returned them to her with the knowledge that she would drive the vehicle in the morning.”
The New Hampshire law against allowing an unlicensed person to drive a car applies to anybody who owns or “controls” a car. The police report said after the traffic stop, Sheppard was in control of the car.