Mass. man said doing 98 on I-93 in snowstorm

NEW HAMPTON — After allegedly passing a state trooper at 98 mph in the snowstorm and nearly hitting another vehicle, a Massachusetts man was arrested following a Sunday chase.

Trooper First Class Sean Faherty of the New Hampshire State Police was responding to a call for a collision on I-93 when he saw a vehicle come from behind at a high rate of speed and passed him, according to a police press release. As the vehicle passed Faherty, it came upon another vehicle and nearly struck it from behind, so the driver slammed on the brakes, lost control, and careened to the right in front of Faherty and hit a snowbank, sending the vehicle back into the left lane. The offending driver regained control and sped off. Faherty gave chase, clocking the driver at 98 mph. Despite the officer's flashing lights and siren, the driver continued driving northbound, away from the crash scene it has been forced to slow down for. After driving another mile and a half, the driver finally pulled over, ending what the release calls "menacing driving behavior."

During the roadside investigation, Faherty determined the driver was impaired by alcohol and that his operating privileges in New Hampshire had been suspended.

William G. Mullen, 58, of Peabody, Massachusetts, was charged with disobeying a police officer, driving while intoxicated - subsequent offense, reckless operation, operating after suspension, and open container.  He was schedule to appear in Laconia District Court on March 9 to answer to the charges.

02-14 William G. Mullen

William G. Mullen

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Loaded gun recovered from vehicle involved in bypass crash; driver charged


LACONIA — Although both drivers escaped without serious injury when their cars collided near the Rte. 107 interchange on the Laconia Bypass shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Friday, one of the men was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, and carrying a firearm without license, as well as being issued a summons for straying into into the left-hand lane.

According to witnesses at the scene, Christopher Burns, 32, of Belmont, driving a 2013 Ford Focus, veered across the double yellow line into the path of a 2007 Hyundai Sonata driven southbound by Thomas Dube, 51, also of Belmont. The two cars collided in the southbound lane then came to rest off the roadway.

Burns, who was found with a loaded .45 caliber handgun in his vehicle, was arrested and subsequently released on personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned in the Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division on Feb. 23.

Capt. Matt Canfield explained that it is a misdemeanor to carry a loaded handgun either in a vehicle or concealed on one's person without a license. However, Senate Bill 12, which would repeal the licensing requirement, has carried the New Hampshire Senate by a vote of 13 to 10 and the New Hampshire House of Representatives by a vote of 200 to 97. Gov. Maggie Hassan twice vetoed similar bills, but Gov. Chris Sununu has indicated he will oppose repealing the licensing requirement and sign this year's bill. Senate Bill 12 would take effect upon its passage.

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Could hike in city's motor vehicle registration fee provide budget relief?


LACONIA — As the city manager and City Council wrestle with building another challenging budget, a little known fee, which municipalities are authorized but not required to tack onto most motor vehicle registrations, could offer some relief.

Since 1997, state law has authorized municipalities to add up to a maximum of $5 to motor vehicle registration fees to support a transportation improvement fund. The proceeds of the fund must be applied solely to the cost of engineering and undertaking a wide variety of projects to enhance public transportation, including the repair and construction of roads, bridges, and parking facilities as well as investments in public transportation
The city currently levies a fee of $1.50 per vehicle. City Clerk Mary Reynolds said that in 2016 the city collected $30,077 from 20,718 transactions. If the city had charged the maximum of $5, it would have collected $103,590.

Last week the Municipal and County Government Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives endorsed House Bill 121, which would double the maximum fee municipalities could collect from $5 to $10. Supporters of the bill, which included local officials, regional planning commissions and transit organizations, told the committee that raising the maximum would restore the original purchasing power of the fee, which has been eroded by inflation during the past 20 years. A representative of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, which counts the bill among its priorities, stressed that it offered municipalities the option of funding improvements to their transportation networks with a user fee rather than property taxes. After the committee voted 19 to 1 to recommend the bill ought to pass it was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

No one spoke against the bill. However, despite widespread support and a favorable recommendation from the committee, the House roundly rejected a similar bill by a voice vote a year ago.

If the Legislature enacts and the governor endorses the bill, it would take effect on July 1, the beginning of the city's next fiscal year.

City Manager Scott Myers said that he has not raised the issue in the past, but may suggest increasing the fee when the council tackles the 2017-2018 budget in March. He said on Monday that he anticipates revenues from sources other than property taxes, including transfers of funds from the state, to be flat while expenses, particularly the contribution to the New Hampshire Retirement System and share of the cost of health insurance premiums, to increase sharply. "I'll give the council some options," Myers said.

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