Fog fatality

Dump truck rolls trying to miss Laconia woman, 88, on bypass


LACONIA — An elderly woman died when the car she was driving collided with a dump truck on the Route 3 and 11 Bypass near the Route 107 interchange shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Arline L. Downing, 88, of Laconia was found dead at the scene of the accident by firefighter/EMTs of the Laconia Fire Department.

Capt. Matt Canfield of the Laconia Police said that a preliminary investigation indicated that Downing, driving a Chevrolet Cobalt southbound toward Belmont, was straddling the fog line at the edge of the northbound lane, into the path of the 1989 Ford dump truck driven by Richard R. Leclerc, 56, of 322 Pine Hill Road, Berwick, Maine, who was traveling northbound toward Gilford. The driver of the dump swerved in an effort to avoid a collision, but the truck struck the Cobalt then rolled on to its side on the verge of the southbound lane. The driver of the dump truck escaped without injury.

Canfield said that New Hampshire State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Team conducted the initial investigation, which included aerial photographs of the scene taken from Ladder One of the Laconia Fire Department. The Belknap County Accident Reconstruction Team is also undertaking an investigation of the accident. Canfield suspected weather conditions, which included patches of fog and rainfall, may have contributed to the collision.

An investigation into whether Downing was suffering from a medical condition before the accident will be conducted, said Canfield. He said that no criminal charges are expected to be filed in connection with the accident.

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The Laconia Bypass at the Route 107 interchange was closed from about 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday due to a fatal collision. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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She made the deal

Witness says she made drug sale arrangements that led to man’s death


LACONIA — The former girlfriend of the man accused of selling a lethal dose of fentanyl to a 21-year-old Tilton man told the jury Thursday that she was the person who brought the two together.

Teanna Bryson, 22, who was being held on a material witness warrant and was brought to the court house in handcuffs, said she was the one who learned that Seth Tilton-Fogg was using heroin and reached out to him a few days before his death on April 2, 2015. She said she knew him from high school.

In a previous hearing, Bryson was given immunity for her truthful testimony against Watson.

Under cross-examination, she said that she couldn't be sure if the fentanyl she said Brian Watson, 52, formerly of Northfield, allegedly sold Tilton-Fogg was the fentanyl that killed him. She said she knew he was using heroin because two of her other friends were selling it to him and said she had reached out to him through Facebook because their "dope" was stronger.

She also said she didn't know if Tilton-Fogg had "re-loaded" syringes in his bedroom. In Wednesday's testimony, the jury learned that those syringes were never tested for drugs by the state lab, whose representative testified Thursday that they don't test syringes because of the danger of getting stuck.

Bryson said that while she was the one who made the arrangements and negotiated a deal on April 2 with Tilton-Fogg, she said it was Watson who brought the drugs to him because she didn't drive and was home sick with "cotton fever," or a condition intravenous drug users can get from a reaction to mold spores from cotton used as a filter for injecting drugs. She said she didn't seek medical treatment.

When Belknap County Attorney Melissa Gildbrandsen asked her directly if she sold drugs to Tilton-Fogg, she said "no" and that she only found out he died a few days later.

She said she sent text messages of April 6, 2015 to Watson with at least one saying "Our s--- killed someone" and "we killed one of our customers."

She said that he replied to her by telling her not to talk to anyone about it.

Defense Attorney Mark Sisti's cross-examination started with him accusing her of lying to the jury. He said that at exactly 2:07 p.m. that afternoon she told the county attorney that she didn't drive.

When challenged, she said she doesn't "drive anymore" but when he continued to press her, she admitted telling the Tilton Police that she "always" drove.

Under more questioning from Guldbrandsen, she said that she didn't drive around Tilton or Franklin because Watson wouldn't let her.

Bryson said when Watson would go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Manchester after he was released on bail following his initial arrest, she would wait in her car for him or drive to pick up drugs.

Watson was returned to jail on a bail violation after Bryson was found hiding under some clothes in the back seat of his Jeep after she and he were ordered to stay away from each other.

During the morning part of the trial, a forensic toxicologist from Pennsylvania testified that the blood samples from Tilton-Fogg sent to MMA labs from the state lab in Concord were fentanyl and that he had injected it shortly before his death.

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Keeping bellies full

Boys & Girls Club now serving dinner to children


LACONIA — There was no question for Jim Holmes as to whether the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region should add an evening meal program.

"We were finding that a lot of our kids at our club were always asking for extra snack or fruit, or extra food to take home," he said. Holmes, branch director for the club, located on North Main Street in Laconia. He worried that some club members, after leaving the club at the end of the afternoon program, might not have another meal before they went to bed. And, he was certain that working parents would be relieved to know that they didn't have to put a meal on the table at the end of the day. But, until recently, the club just didn't have the necessary facilities.

The history of the local Boys & Girls Club stretches back to 1999 and includes three different names – it was originally called the Belknap County Teen Center – and five locations. However, the tumult now seems to be relegated to the past, as the club is now the owner of its location, the former St. James Episcopal Church, and a merger with the Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire has provided stability and access to greater programs.

While the property is in an excellent location, within walking distance to schools and parks, and with 17,000 square feet and room to expand, it lacked in certain areas. So, when the club embarked on a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to purchase the property, some of that total was earmarked for facility upgrades.

About $100,000 went to the installation of a commercial-grade kitchen and renovation of the space that is now used as a cafeteria. Chris Emond, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire, said that the funding came from gifts made by the Lois G. Roy Dickerman Charitable Foundation and T-Bones restaurant.

With that work completed, the club began serving dinner last week, and will be serving food every night from now on. The meal will always include an entree, vegetable, fruit, milk and bread. The food comes from the New Hampshire Food Bank, the entrees are assembled by Food Bank volunteers and need only be re-heated and served by club staff members. The club receives reimbursement from the federal government for each meal served, so the ongoing food service affects the club's bottom line little, if at all, while providing a healthy meal every day.

"Once it gets going, it really pays for itself," said Emond. About 60 children are eating dinner at the club each evening, Emond said after the club had been serving for a week, and the club will also send children home with food if they have to leave prior to the dinner service, or if there's someone at their home who could use the meal.

The Boys & Girls Club offers a space for children to go before and after school, five days a week, and during school vacations. The Laconia site features a gymnasium, art room, games room, computer lab and lounge. Emond said the club serves about 100 children, in grades kindergarten through 12, and has space for about 50 more. There's still more work yet to do to the facility, said Emond, adding that future campaigns will seek funds to renovate the building's lobby, install an elevator, improve the building's windows and doors, update the bathrooms and improve the playground.

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Isabella Peavey fills her plate with sweet and sour chicken, mixed vegetables and bread at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region. The club began serving dinner this month, made possible thanks to renovations to the kitchen and cafeteria. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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At the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, Jonathan Stebbins joined the 60 or so club members who welcomed the addition of dinner service, made possible thanks to renovations to the kitchen and cafeteria. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Olivia Hudson, Kendra Walter, Ondreya Myers, Tanya Benzevich-McNeil and Adaline Ross share a laugh during dinner at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)