By JIM HADDADIN, Courtesy Nashua Telegraph
BROOKLINE – A New Hampshire State Police accident reconstruction team has been called in to probe the fatal crash that took the life of a 30-year-old Brookline woman the day before Christmas.
Brookline Police Chief Bill Quigley said the investigation has been handed over to state police, who will return Monday to inspect the vehicles involved in the crash and conduct additional interviews.
“They’ve still got a lengthy investigation ahead of them, and any charges that may come from this — that will be determined upon conclusion of the state police investigation,” Quigley said.
Previously Quigley said it did not appear speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.
The Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office will determine whether charges are warranted against the driver who police say rear-ended Katie Hamilton on Route 13, sending her Ford Explorer SUV into the path of an incoming truck.
Hamilton’s father, Stephen Whitcomb, is a longtime volunteer firefighter (Brookline FD), and was among the first responders who traveled to the scene.
Police said Hamilton was either stopped or slowing down to make a left turn onto Milford Street – right outside the town’s public safety complex – when she was hit from behind by a silver 2009 Toyota pickup truck.
Quigley said Hamilton’s SUV was shoved into oncoming traffic on Route 130 and was struck by a Ford F250 truck heading north in the opposite lane. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Quigley said it appears the driver of the Toyota swerved to the right just before the crash, in hopes of avoiding the collision.
“He swerved to avoid hitting her and still struck her on the very right rear corner of her vehicle, forcing her to come over to the northbound lane,” Quigley said
He said police are investigating whether cell phone usage or another form of driver inattentiveness were factors in the crash.
“We know that it’s a 50-mile-per-hour road, so we know that excessive speed was not an issue, and after speaking with the other two operators … we were able to rule out any impairment on their part,” he said.
Hamilton was a mother of three, and lived with her husband on Bond Street about a mile away from the crash. Her father, Stephen Whitcomb, said he worked with his daughter in a plumbing business.
Quigley said the family is well-established in the small town of roughly 4,000. Hamilton grew up on Milford Street, a few hundred feet from the scene of the crash, and attended local schools.
A fund was established Thursday at a local TD Bank branch in Hamilton’s memory. An employee said a family friend opened the account in the morning to provide assistance to Hamilton’s family.
Donations can be made to The Hamilton Fund c/o TD Bank, 104 Route 13, Gazebo Square, Brookline, N.H. 03033.