HAMPTON, N.H. — A Seabrook woman accused of careening into bicyclists Saturday morning on a coastal bridge, killing two and injuring two others, is heading to court this morning to face negligent homicide charges.
Nineteen-year-old Darriean Hess is expected to be arraigned this morning at Seabrook Circuit Court on two felony negligent homicide counts and two felony counts of second-degree assault. Each charge is a Class B felony, carrying a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and fines up to $4,000, per charge.
Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, were killed in the accident. Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, of Essex, and Margo Heigh, 54, of Danvers were both injured and transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Bail was set at $50,000 cash. Hess was arrested yesterday afternoon and transported to Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood to await arraignment, according to Hampton police.
The investigation into what prompted Hess, who was traveling southbound, to cross the center line of the Neil R. Underwood Bridge around 8:30 a.m. and strike bicyclists traveling north continues. During a press conference outside the Hampton Police Department about an hour after her arrest, neither police Chief Jamie Sullivan nor Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams would comment on whether alcohol or texting was involved but said the crash appears to have been the result of driver inattention and excessive speed.
Reams wouldn’t comment on how fast Hess was traveling other than to say that it was excessive and that witnesses were surprised by how fast she was driving. The county attorney said it was still unknown where Hess was going at the time of Saturday’s accident.
On Route 1A, the bridge connects Hampton Beach and Seabrook Beach. The two-lane bridge, which is about 300 yards long, arches over the tidal waters connecting Hampton Harbor to the ocean.