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Sox-Yankee rivalry cited in N.H. fatality

Dispute, taunts preceded crash

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By David Abel
Globe Staff / May 6, 2008

Only Ivonne Hernandez knows for certain what was in her mind when, prosecutors say, she sped from a parking lot near a Nashua lounge, turned her 11-year-old Dodge Intrepid toward a group of people on the street, and slammed into a 29-year-old man, killing him.

But there's one thing authorities believe about the moments before the 43-year-old mother allegedly rocketed her car across 200 feet of pavement: Hernandez and the people in the group were on opposite ends of baseball's oldest and most vitriolic rivalry.

According to the victim's sister, Hernandez got into a fist fight early Friday morning in the parking lot with a woman in the group, and then stalked off to her car. Some in the group saw a Yankees sticker on her car and began taunting her with a familiar chant in Red Sox Nation: "Yankees suck! Yankees suck!" prosecutors said.

Hernandez then pulled out of the parking space aggressively and nearly hit one of the men in the group, said the victim's sister, who spoke to other members of the group about what happened. Hernandez exited the parking lot as members of the group continued to taunt her, prosecutors said, and then turned around.

"She thought they would get out of the way," Susan Morrell, a senior assistant attorney general, said yesterday in Nashua District Court, where Hernandez was arraigned on charges of reckless conduct, aggravated drunken driving, and second-degree murder. "She never braked, and she accelerated at a high speed for about 200 feet. She went directly at this group of people."

The victim, 29-year-old Mat thew Beaudoin of Nashua, died Saturday of head trauma at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

"I want her to rot in a cold jail cell for the rest of her life and remember every day the face that hit her windshield," Faith Beaudoin, the victim's sister, said in a phone interview. "I want her to remember that she took a wonderful, kind-hearted gentleman. She has children of her own. How could she want to harm another's child?"

Hernandez allegedly sped toward the group, striking Beaudoin and his friend Maria Hughes, 21, who apparently got into the fight with Hernandez. Hughes sustained minor injuries.

Hernandez, of Nashua, was arrested at the scene. She acknowledged she had been drinking and refused to take a breath-alcohol test, Morrell said in court.

In a phone interview, Morrell said that state rules prohibit her from making any comments about the case outside the courtroom.

Morrell said Hernandez is previously from New York but has lived in New Hampshire for six years. She declined to comment on whether Morrell has a criminal record.

"This is a serious case because a 29-year-old lost his life," Morrell said. "Part of the argument was about the Yankees decal, but I can't say what initially caused the argument."

James Quay, a public defender representing Hernandez, declined to comment. Hernandez's relatives could not be reached.

Before the argument, Beaudoin, a manager for a company called Universal Gaming, had been at Slade's Food & Spirits, where he was a regular customer.

Tanya Moran, a bartender there, said the dispute occurred after the group left the bar. She said Hernandez was not in the bar that night.

Moran said she had known Beaudoin for about a year.

"He was a wonderful guy and he's going to be greatly, greatly missed," she said. "I just want to see justice served. My heart goes out to his family and friends."

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com.

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