59-year-old Laconia woman identified as victim of Gilford crash

GILFORD — Police have identified Laconia resident Kay E. Sawyer, 59, as the woman killed in Wednesday's three-car accident on Route 11 next to the scenic overlook of Lake Winnipesaukee.

The Daily Sun has learned that Sawyer lived at 1156 North Main Street at the Opechee Gardens.

Det. Sgt. Chris Jacques said Sawyer was driving a silver Toyota and was headed toward Alton or east. He said her two passengers were Theresa Burgado, 29, of New York, N.Y. and a 2-year-old child who was not identified.

Burgado remains at Lakes Region General Hospital while the child was treated and released.

A second car, which was a Honda sedan, was also headed east and was being operated by Brendon J. Lefavor-Hanson, 22, of Gilford.

Jacques said Lefavor-Hanson's car made contact with the car driven by Sawyer who in turn collided with an Ford SUV being driven west-bound by Martin Leary, 62, of Gilford. Leary was also treated and released from LRGH.

Police said they are not releasing the details of what happened on the road up to the collision because of the ongoing investigation, although Jacques said there were witnesses. He said the passenger side of the car Sawyer was driving was most heavily damaged although all three cars sustained significant damage.

The initial call to the fire department broadcast over the scanner said there was multiple cars involved in a crash on Route 11 near Brookside Crossing with a possible fatality.

Jacques didn't say if the witnesses were other people involved in the crash or different people who actually saw what happened. He said to the best of his knowledge, there was no one stopped at the overlook area at the time of the crash.

Jacques said some of the people involved in the crash were wearing seat belts and some were not. He confirmed Fire Chief Steve Carrier's statement that the child was secured in a car seat that appeared to be correctly installed.

Jacques said the road is straight in that area and is reasonably level when one considers Gilford's hilly terrain. "It isn't an area I go to for frequent accidents," he said.

He said that stretch of roadway has two lanes. There is passing allowed, as indicated by a dashed yellow center-line, line but declined to say if it was a factor in yesterday's crash.

Sandy Aldrich was in a car accident in February near where Wednesday's accident occurred.

Aldrich, who lives in Brookside Crossing and drives on Route 11 daily, said in her opinion there are three things that cause many accidents and near-misses along that stretch of road – speed, alcohol and, most importantly inattention.

She said the road gets a lot of travelers who aren't familiar with the curve just west of the scenic area. She also said people like to look at the view without pulling into the scenic area.

"It's a beautiful road," she said, meaning it's well maintained and plowed. But because it is so nice she said she thinks people drive too fast on it. She also said people are prone to passing when they shouldn't because drivers often think they have more room than they really have because they can't see beyond the Gilford-side curve or the Ellacoya State Park Curve.