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September 27, 2013

Questions arise over drug use in deadly crash

SEABROOK, N.H. — A Hampton, N.H., woman accused of selling the powerful narcotic Fentanyl to 19-year-old Darriean Hess hours before police say the teen slammed into bicyclists on a Route 1A bridge last weekend killing two and injuring two others, was ordered held on $10,000 cash or bond by a judge yesterday.

The arraignment of Cindy Sheppard, 48, who faced numerous drug-related charges, has led to a number of questions regarding her connection with the teen. Still unanswered is whether Hess was under the influence of Fentanyl, a potent drug medically used for anesthesia or management of extreme pain, when she struck the bicyclists.

Hess was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts each of negligent homicide and second degree assault. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and fines up to $4,000, per charge. Bail was set at $50,000 cash or surety. Hess was not charged with driving under the influence of drugs, but police obtained a blood sample from her following the crash.

Yesterday, prosecutors revealed that Hess was staying overnight at Sheppard’s Hampton Beach apartment, located close to the bridge. At some point during the night, Hess purchased the Fentanyl — an addictive drug sometimes sold illegally for recreational use. It has affects similar to heroin.

About 12:45 a.m. Saturday, Sheppard allegedly gave Hess the keys to a 2002 Honda Civic and allowed her to drive, knowing she didn’t have a license. Hess was pulled over for going 59 mph in a 30 mph zone a few minutes later and told police she didn’t have a license.

The officer who stopped Hess gave her a summons and told her that she had to have someone come and pick up the car. It was Sheppard — whose legs are amputated below the knees — who came.

Asked how Sheppard was able to drive the car, County Attorney Jim Reams said the traffic stop happened yards away from her home.

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