HAMPTON, N.H. — Police are conducting a criminal investigation into a car accident that killed two cyclists after a driver plowed into them during an annual bike ride along the New England coastline, the husband of one of the victims said Sunday.
Investigators said a car driven by 20-year-old Darriean Hess, of Seabrook, crossed the center line and struck a group of riders Saturday morning on a bridge in Hampton, N.H., during the 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride.
The crash killed two Massachusetts women, Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers. Two other riders suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, police said.
Wells’ husband, Tom Rogers, said police told him they’re treating the accident as a criminal investigation.
“They have the bicycles. They confiscated her phone, and they took a blood sample. And they have her car,” Rogers said.
The annual cycling event features two days of rides along routes in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts that range from 17 to 108 miles, said Andy Wallenstein, of the Granite State Wheelmen bicycling club. On Saturday, about 1,500 bicyclists collectively rode more than 100,000 miles, he said.
Wells was planning to ride 100 miles for the first time and had been working up toward it all summer, Rogers said. She, Bouchard and a third friend logged a 73-mile ride last week.
The three along with Bouchard’s boss were struck after they had ridden about 15 miles, Rogers said.
Wells leaves behind her husband and two children, ages 16 and 17.
No charges have been filed against Hess. She didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The bicycling club each year pays police to man various intersections during the event and has nearly 80 volunteers helping, Wallenstein said.
“It’s just a tragic event,” he said.