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New charges allege Derry man charged in double fatal was under influence of alcohol, pot

Ryan Kittredge in court
Ryan Kittredge in court for a bail hearing last February.Jason Schreiber/UNION LEADER FILE PHOTO

BRENTWOOD — A Derry man with two prior DUI convictions is facing new charges alleging he was drunk and under the influence of marijuana when he drove in the wrong direction on Route 101 in Epping and caused a head-on crash that killed a retired Massachusetts police sergeant and his wife.

Ryan Kittredge, 31, was indicted this month on felony manslaughter and negligent homicide charges that, for the first time, accuse him of being impaired by alcohol and marijuana when he allegedly made a U-turn, drove eastbound in the westbound lane, and struck John and Heidi Johnson shortly before midnight on Jan. 10.

Kittredge has waived formal arraignment in Rockingham County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to the two negligent homicide and two manslaughter charges.

He has also pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of drugs/liquor and driving with excess alcohol concentration.

Kittredge, who suffered two fractured vertebrae and a laceration to his knee in the crash, has remained held without bail at the Rockingham County jail after a judge ruled that he posed a threat to public safety.

A bail hearing was slated for Friday, but was rescheduled for June 7.

Authorities have said 58-year-old John Johnson, a retired sergeant from the Townsend, Mass., Police Department, and his wife, Heidi, 57, were traveling westbound in a 2008 Chevrolet Impala when they were hit head-on by Kittredge’s 1998 Dodge 1500 pickup truck.

The indictments allege that Kittredge was headed westbound when he quickly decelerated, turned the vehicle around within the two westbound lanes, and then accelerated in the wrong direction.

A third vehicle also was involved in the collision, but the driver wasn’t seriously hurt.

The Johnsons, who lived in New Ipswich, were heading home after watching their great-niece’s basketball game in Maine earlier in the day, according to State Police.

John Johnson spent nearly 40 years at the Townsend, Mass., Police Department before retiring last July.

Driver who pretended to be a panhandler after hitting ODOT truck charged with OVI

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CLEVELAND — A drunk driver who hit an ODOT truck and pretended to be a panhandler after fleeing a crash scene on I-90 Thursday was charged with an OVI, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Andre Foster is charged with a felony OVI and was booked into the Cuyahoga County Jail as of Thursday, OSHP said. Foster is also charged with hit-skip, driving under suspension, seat belt violation and failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the ODOT crew was patching potholes along I-90 east near the East 152nd Street overpass when a suspected drunk driver hit the ODOT pickup truck.

Troopers and Cleveland police eventually located the man with the laundry soap container standing at the end of the exit ramp. He told officers that he was just panhandling at the end of the ramp and had nothing to do with the crash.

When asked if he wanted his phone from the car, he responded “yes” and was arrested.

Troopers said at least one ODOT worker was evaluated at the scene but refused any treatment.

Woman accused of OWI after driving in closed interstate work zone

Courtney Bronaugh, 29, of Mount Pleasant, reportedly drove around the pictured barricades and onto Interstate 94 early Monday. I-94 was closed for construction at the time, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office reported. Submitted photo

YORKVILLE — A Mount Pleasant woman who reportedly drove through a closed construction zone on Interstate 94 with a flat tire will likely face an OWI charge, according to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

At 1:43 a.m. Monday, Racine County dispatch received a call reporting that a vehicle with a flat tire was driving south in the closed construction area on I-94 between highways 20 and 11, according to a Racine County Sheriff’s Office release.

All southbound lanes of the Interstate were closed at Highway 20 in Racine County at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday to accommodate overnight construction work.

“There were numerous pre-warning signs regarding the closure, as well as traffic barrels and barricades put in place to protect the workers who were present throughout the night,” sheriff’s officials said.

While deputies were responding, a construction worker on the Interstate called 911 and said the vehicle had turned around and was now traveling north in the southbound lanes of the Interstate.

Deputies arrived on scene and found a silver sedan driving toward their squad cars at a slow speed — approximately 20 mph. The vehicle was reportedly missing a tire and riding on a damaged rim.

Deputies spoke with the driver, 29-year-old Courtney Bronaugh of Mount Pleasant, who said she was driving home from Milwaukee. She said she had to exit the Interstate at Highway 20, due to the closure, and was trying to get back onto the southbound Interstate. She claimed someone told her to get back on the adjacent ramp.PauseCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:00Stream TypeLIVELoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00Fullscreen00:00Mute

The southbound entrance ramp to the Interstate was closed, with barricades blocking it. Bronaugh drove around the barricades, and struck one that was meant to keep eastbound Highway 20 traffic from entering the Interstate, reportedly significantly damaging it.

While on the Interstate, Bronaugh drove between a work crew vehicle and barricades. She eventually turned around and was later stopped by deputies.

Charges of second offense operating while intoxicated and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration, as well as hit-and-run on property adjacent to a highway, failure to obey traffic signs in a work area and reckless driving, endangering safety in a work area, have been referred to the Racine District Attorney’s Office.

Construction zone diligence

“We would like to remind everyone to be alert to the construction areas and detour signs that are posted,” Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said. “They are in place to ensure the safety of the workers present and the motoring public.”

NJ Supreme Court: No sentencing break for driving while suspended

TRENTON – The state Supreme Court has barred a sentencing break for some motorists caught driving on suspended licenses.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the high court ruled against “intermittent sentencing” — jail terms served at night or on weekends — for repeat offenders who drive while suspended for a DWI.

The ruling arose from a Camden County case, where five motorists received intermittent sentences totaling 180 days each from Superior Court Judge Frederick Schuck in July 2016.

AND: NJ teacher charged with DUI had more twice legal limit, crashed into pizza and wings shop


(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office challenged the sentences, arguing a state law required the motorists to be jailed for 180 days without interruption.

SEE:NJ DWI arrests by county

The law makes it a fourth-degree crime to drive “for the second time” during a DWI suspension, or during a suspension for “a second or subsequent DWI.”

An appeals court last year upheld the intermittent sentences, although it also said defendants had to spend “continuous 24-hour periods” in jail to satisfy each day of their 180-day terms.

ALSO: Judge raises questions about thousands of DWI cases in NJ

The 2018 ruling noted the five defendants had pleaded guilty based on Schuck’s promise of an intermittent sentence over the prosecution’s objection.

It said the intermittent sentences, which included probationary terms for three motorists, allowed the defendants to keep their jobs and to address family and health concerns.

The Supreme Court’s decision acknowledged the state’s criminal code allows a “sentence of imprisonment to be served ‘at night or on weekends’ unless the criminal code provides otherwise.”

But it noted the motorists were sentenced under a law that “specifically provides” for a minimum term of “not less than 180 days’ without parole eligibility.

The High Court determined the Legislature had chosen the law’s language “to serve as a bar to release, even intermittently, during the period of parole ineligibility.”

The ruling noted laws with similar language require “fixed periods of parole ineligibility” for the most dangerous offenders. It said intermittent sentences, if allowed for motorists, could be extended to people convicted of the most serious crimes, including gun and drug offenses.

“This is a result the Legislature could not have intended,” said the decision, written by Justice Lee Solomon.

A representative of the prosecutor’s office could not be reached for immediate comment.

The motorists’ sentences have been stayed pending the appeal by the prosecutor’s office.

Tuesday’s ruling noted three defendants — Eric Lowers of Sicklerville, Courtney Swiderski of Atco and Stephen Nolan of Gloucester — will now seek to withdraw their guilty pleas.

A fourth defendant, Elizabeth Colon of Pittsgrove, is to be resentenced.

The fifth motorist, Rene Rodriguez of Pennsauken, opted to serve his 180-day sentence while the case was before the Supreme Court.

Surveillance video shows suspected DUI driver crash into Dairy Queen picnic area, injuring family

LOVELAND, Colo. — Surveillance video shows the moment a driver ran off the road in Loveland and crashed into tables outside a Dairy Queen,injuring a family of four. 

The Loveland Police Department said the “powerful video” emphasizes why the department makes DUI and DUID enforcement a top priority. 

Officers were called out to the Dairy Queen, which is located at 300 E. Eisenhower Boulevard, around noon on Saturday after receiving a report of a vehicle crash. When they arrived, they found that the driver of a white Toyota Corolla had ran the car off the road and into a family picnic area on the side of the fast food restaurant. 

The initial investigation indicated that Michael John Dupuis, 33, of Loveland had been driving eastbound on E. Eisenhower Boulevard. A witness who was driving behind him told police he was driving erratically, and suddenly went off the right side of the roadway. The car then struck the family picnic area, where a family of four was sitting. 

One person was briefly trapped under the car, police said. 

All four members of the family were transported to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. 

Dupuis was taken into custody at the scene and brought to the Larimer County Jail on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and vehicular assault. 

Michael John Dupuis

He has since bonded out. His next court hearing is scheduled for May 30. 

“We will continue to be aggressive in our enforcement in an attempt to reduce incidents like this that have a lasting effect on the community we serve,” Loveland police said.