Two North Shore women were killed Saturday morning during an annual bicycle ride in Hampton, N.H., when a car veered out of its lane and crashed into a group of riders.
Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, died from injuries received in the crash, which happened on a two-lane bridge in Hampton around 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes after the ride began. Both were pronounced dead at the hospital: Wells at Exeter Hospital; Bouchard at Portsmouth Hospital.
Two others, Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers, were both transported from the scene and hospitalized with what authorities described as non-life-threatening injuries. All of the victims were participating in the 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride.
Investigators have determined that the bicyclists participating in the Seacoast Century ride were traveling north on Ocean Boulevard, just starting over the Underwood Bridge, when a vehicle traveling south over the bridge — operated by Darriean Hess, 20, of Seabrook, N.H. — hit the group of riders. Hess was transported to Portsmouth Hospital for minor injuries.
Ocean Boulevard is also designated as Route 1A.
Police say Hess drifted off the center lane and hit the four bicyclists.
Police are conducting a criminal investigation into the accident, but no charges had been filed as of last night.
Family and friends mourned the loss of Wells and Bouchard over the weekend.
Bouchard rode her bicycle on a daily basis, her aunt Virginia L’Heureux said yesterday.
“Almost constantly,” she said. “She was a very big fan of cycling. She cycled all the time.”
L’Heureux said Bouchard was single and had family living in nearby Beverly and Salem. Bouchard will be remembered for living life to the fullest, she said.
“She was a beautiful girl, full of life, and we will all miss her,” L’Heureux said.