6-vehicle crash closes Route 101

BEDFORD – Six people escaped serious injury Monday following a multi-car crash on Route 101, allegedly caused when the driver of a tractor-trailer loaded with sand plowed through a red light.

“It could have been much worse than it was, no doubt about it,” said Bedford police Sgt. Scott Plumer, who responded to the 2:44 p.m. crash that happened right next to the police station at the intersection of Constitution Drive and Route 101.

The accident happened during the department’s roll call, a fortunate occurrence, Plumer said, because there were more officers at the station to respond to the scene.

Plumer said emergency crews arriving at the scene found five cars, several of them badly damaged, all over the intersection and a tractor-trailer stopped on the south side of eastbound Route 101 directly behind the police department.

The driver of one of the cars, Joan O’Neil, 63, of Bedford was transported by ambulance to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester and was later treated and released, according to police and hospital officials.

The four other drivers, Sara Wesley, 38, of Auburn, Jessica Desroches, 20, of Hudson, Sherri Dyer, 32, of Hudson, and Meghan Amato, 17, of Bedford were all treated by ambulance personnel at the scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Roger Prentice Jr., 31, of Grafton, was not injured in the crash.

Plumer said witnesses at the scene told police that the tractor-trailer had been traveling eastbound on Route 101 when it ran a red light at the intersection, striking cars that had been attempting to make a left onto Constitution Drive from westbound Route 101.

The initial impact caused the cars to spin out and at some point in the crash some of the cars that had been waiting to turn left also became involved in the crash, he said.

“The whole scene was a mess,” Plumer said, adding the investigation would take some time to figure out.

Police closed off Route 101 at nearby Route 114 and Constitution Drive for about an hour and a half as emergency crews All of the cars involved were damaged enough to have to be towed from the scene, Plumer said, except for Amato’s 2004 silver-colored Honda Civic and the tractor-trailer, which had sustained some front-end damage.

Prentice was issued a summons for failure to stop for a traffic control device, Plumer said.

Officials from the Department of Motor Vehicle’s Highway Patrol unit inspected the tractor-trailer, owned by Daniel A. Beauchesne Trucking of Bow, before Prentice drove it from the scene, Plumer said.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing and speed or alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, Plumer said.