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Man accused in stabbing says victim ran onto knife

LACONIA — The young man who is charged with first-degree assault for allegedly cutting a Keene man's neck with a knife said yesterday that the alleged victim ran at him during a verbal altercation early Sunday morning in a local downtown parking lot.

Travis Dunn, 24, is being held without bail in the Belknap County Jail. As of Sunday, his alleged victim, Richard Russell of Keene, was in critical but stable condition at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Dunn, who spoke to the media yesterday, said he was at the Funky Monkey at closing time and was leaving the bar with two girls he knew. They were all going to leave in one car.

He said when they went out the back door to the Beacon Street West parking lot, there were a bunch of guys he had never seen before standing around the woman's car in which the three were going to leave. He said they started yelling and trash-talking at him.

"I was two seconds from sitting in the seat," Dunn said yesterday from behind the glass wall at the jail.

He said just as he was getting into front passenger seat of the girl's car, he said a white double cab or club cab pickup pulled up and more guys he didn't know got out of it.

Dunn said he stood outside the car and brandished a small pocket knife he carries with him. He said he stood with his arm at a 90-degree angle and the five or six men were standing around him in a semi-circle.

"I told them all to back the (explicative) off," he said. He said the girls were pulling him into the car but the group of guys had the car surrounded and were blocking the way out.

He said at this point one guy who was wearing a brown shirt tried calm things down by telling his friends to back off.

"Then this idiot comes charging at me," Dunn said. "I don't even know if he knew I had a knife. He ran right into it."

He said the man, presumably Russell, was wearing a black and white shirt and appeared to be "wasted." He said it appeared he could barely stand up.

"I don't know if he thought he was some kind of commando or something," Dunn said wiping tears from his eyes. "He was just so drunk."

Dunn said once he realized he "nicked" the man he ran because the rest of the guys began chasing him. He said he ran through downtown and eventually hid under a car on Canal Street for about an hour.

He said he heard the police looking for him and could hear a police dog barking but said he was afraid they would shoot him if he came out from under the car.

After an hour he said he made it home and turned himself in to police the next day.

When asked what happened to the knife, he said he fell down about four times while running from the guys who were chasing him and thinks he must have dropped it.

"It's downtown somewhere," he said.

Dunn said he didn't recognize any of the men and doesn't remember seeing them in the Funky Monkey during the evening. He said it's possible the men knew one of the women he was with and that it's possible they were in the bar and he didn't realize it.

He said he had no intention of getting into any kind of argument or fight Saturday night.

"Heck I had two girls and some money left in my pocket," he said. Dunn said the evening had been one of the best nights he'd had in a long time and he was just looking forward to getting home.

"I had two girls. I sure didn't want to mess that up," he said.

Dunn said he's been "in the hole" or in solitary confinement since he turned himself in and has been reading the Bible and "praying and praying and praying."

When asked what he was praying for, he said he was praying Russell was going to be okay and that he gets to participate in his daughter's life.

"I got a daughter, I got a good job," Dunn said, adding he was raised partially in Florida and spent three years of his young life in and out of foster care.

He said he had just begun to connect with some of his family members in the Lakes Region and that his life was just starting to come together.

He said he never met his father until he was 18 and then he died of alcoholism. "I want to be there for my daughter," he said, tears welling again in his eyes.

Dunn also described himself as someone who doesn't like to fight. "Heck, I don't even like to drink that much," he said.

When asked if he had any kind of criminal record he said he was arrested with marijuana once and got into a fight once when he was in high school but he doesn't think that went on his record.

Dunn will appear by video in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division this morning and will likely be represented by the Laconia Public Defender's office.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 12:50

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City has spent 90%of winter storm funds

LACONIA — With five weeks remaining until the first day spring, the Department of Public Works has spent approximately 90-percent of its winter maintenance budget.

The budget of $407,500 consists of three components. The cost of vehicles and purchases of salt and sand amounts to $330,000, while $27,500 is allocated for private contractors, and $50,000 for overtime wages. Through January, $230,000 had been spent on vehicles and material, $9,653 on contractors and $59,949 on overtime. Altogether the city had spent $299,602, almost three-quarters of its budget.

Paul Moynihan, director of public works, estimated yesterday that more than $69,000 has been spent so far in February, much of during last week's storm, when snow fell heavily late in the day and into the night to keep crews on the road around the clock. He estimated that the department spent another $50,000 on vehicles and materials, $8,000 on contractors and $10,000 to $11,000 on overtime during the two storms.

Salt usage, which represents the largest single cost in the budget, is a good indicator of the severity of the winter. So far this year the department has used 3,941.58 tons of salt at $55.31 per ton for a total expenditure of $218,008.79 compared to 3,138.35 tons at $61.65 per ton for a total expenditure of $193,479.28 a year ago. In other words, 25-percent more salt has been applied this winter than last, and there are five more weeks before winter officially ends.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:55

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27-second margin earns Bellerive entry into three-timer club

LACONIA — In what may have been the most competitive field ever taking part in Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, Claude Bellerive of Charette, Quebec, held on to win by just 27 seconds over the three-day race and became only the fifth person ever to win the derby three or more times.
Bellerive is no stranger to close finishes, having had previously won back-to-back titles in 2007-08 by margins of 10 seconds and eight seconds.
He jumped out to the first day-lead in the 85th annual derby Friday afternoon by taking a one minute, 10 second lead and then saw his challengers narrow the gap each day to the point where the top five racers finished only two minutes and 21 seconds apart.
Bellerive, who does not speak English, explained through his daughter, Melanie, who also races sled dogs and is the person who encouraged him to take up sled dog racing after his wife's death around 10 years ago, by saying that his team ran well and he encountered none of the major delays which affected him last year and in the 2011 races.
Bellerive started the weekend racing 16 Alaskan Husky-German Short-haired Pointer mix dogs and dropped to 12 dogs on Sunday when his 52:32 pace was the fourth best time of the day but proved enough to hold off his four challengers with an elapsed time of 2:41:10.
Jack Trottier, a Quebec musher, was third at the end of the first day, a minute and 24 seconds behind Bellerive, and posted the best time of Saturday, 54:15, picking up 44 seconds on Bellerive to narrow the gap to 40 seconds. He was 13 seconds better than Bellerive on Sunday with a 52:19 time which wasn't enough to close the gap and he finished with a time of 2:41:37.
Placing third was first-time derby racer Rejean Therrien of Quebec, who fell more than two minutes behind the pace in Friday's heat after his team became tangled. But he made up time steadily over the weekend, posting the second best time on Saturday and the third time on Sunday. The 37-year-veteran musher finished with a time of 2:42:04.
Vermont musher Steve Long fell from second after Friday's run, more than a minute back, to two minutes and eight seconds back by the end of Sunday's heat, finishing with a three-day total of 2:43:18.
Defending champion Justin Fortier of St. Raymond, Quebec, who had fallen nearly four minutes off the pace by the end of Saturday's heat, turned in the fastest heat of the weekend on Sunday with a blistering 50:59 pace to finish fifth with a time of 2:43:41.
Other finishers were 6. Hermel Bergeron, 2:49.19; 7. Doug Butler, 2:51. 24. 8. Keith Bryar, 2:52:24; 9. Brittany Colbath, 2:55:51; 10. Samuel LaForce, 3:03:32.
The other mushers who have won the Laconia Derby three or more times are Emile St. Goddard (1930-31-33); Dr. Charles Belford (1956-64-65-66) Keith Bryar (1960-62-63) and Dick Moulton (1968-71-73-75-76).
Winner of the six-dog class with a time of 57:25 was Jessica, Doherty of Palmero, N.Y, followed by Jocelyn Bradbury of Portland, Maine, with a time of 58:26. Angie Carter of Penacook was third with a time of 59:06, followed by Kathy Rivest of Charette, Quebec, 59:46; defending champion Melanie Bellerive of Quebec, 59:48 and Fran Plaisted of Vermont, 60:50.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:04

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Quick series of dry-road wrecks keep Gilford police busy

GILFORD — Three accident within about a 45-minute time span kept police are fire personnel busy yesterday afternoon.

The first came from an area of Cherry Valley Road just east of Cat Path. Sgt. Corey O'Connor said a white car heading toward Gilford Village appeared to leave the road way, flip over, and land in the woods down a steep slope.

O'Connor said the female driver and her male passenger were able to get out of the car on their own and walk up the embankment to get to the road. He said both declined medical treatment.

Police said they closed down one-half of Cherry Valley Road while wrecking crews worked to bring the car up the snowy embankment and on to a flat bed.
He said the entire road was closed for about five minutes while crews were loading the car for towing.

A few minute later, O'Connor responded to a second car accident on Cherry Valley Road that was further east, near the Gunstock Mountain Resort.

He said a single driver lost control of his Jeep and went off the road, getting hung up in a snow banking.

O'Connor said the roads were clean and dry in both accidents and said the cause was likely driver inattention. Both remain under investigation.

A third accident occurred on the Laconia by-pass. It was investigated by Lt. James Leach and he said it appeared both cars were going in the same direction and somehow collided.

He said there were no injuries and one of the two cars had to be towed. Leach also noted the by-pass was clear and dry and said driver inattention was likely a contributing factor.

In Laconia, two cars collided at the intersection of Baldwin and Joliet Street around 3:30 p.m. Police said there were no injuries.

CUTLINE – (FEB 15 car of Cherry Valley Road) A white car of undetermined make and model lies up-side-down in the woods off of Cherry Valley Road yesterday afternoon. Both occupants were able to free themselves from the car and declined treatment. Gilford Police said the crash is still under investigation but said drugs or alcohol were not factors.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 February 2014 12:56

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