Driver in fatal Parade Road crash sentenced to state prison

LACONIA — A man who who was driving a car that crashed into a tree on Parade Road last November in an accident which claimed the life of a Laconia woman and severely injured a passenger has been sentenced to the State Prison and ordered to pay funeral expenses and medical costs of the victims.
Ryan Mears, 26, formerly of Windsong Drive, Kingston, entered a negotiated plea of guilty to three charges in the accident; negligent homicide, second degree assault and a controlled drug violation and was sentenced Monday by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Beknap County Superior Court..

He had admitted to police that he had used cocaine before the accident and had had at least three shots of whiskey.
Killed instantly in the Nov. 2 accident was Tiffany Nieves, 28, of Laconia, who was a passenger in the back seat of the black Cadillac. Another passenger, Jeremy King, 28, of Atkinson, was taken to the intensive care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Mears was sentenced to 10 years maximum, five years minimum in State Prison on the negligent homicide charge and given credit for 98 days of pre-trail confinement. He was also ordered to pay $10,020.32 for funeral expenses for Nieves and fined $4,960, which was suspended upon 15 years of good behavior.
On the second degree assault charge he received a suspended sentence of three and a half to seven years in the state prison and was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution for King's medical expenses.
On the controlled drug charge he was sentenced to one and a half years to three years in the state prison which will be served concurrently with the negligent homicide sentence. A $1,240 fine was suspended.
Mears was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and counseling, as well as participate in educational programs, his drivers license was suspended indefinitely and he was ordered to have no contact with the crash victim's family or with King.
Police had initially reported that the vehicle was headed north on Parade Road, just past the Elm Street intersection, November 2 at 1:57 a.m. when the car crossed into the south bound lane, collided with a tree, and catapulted back into the road way.
A medical examiner had ruled that Nieves was killed instantly by blunt-force trauma. She was a passenger in the back seat and the examiner said she died of a torn aorta, a lacerated heart and lung and a fractured skull. She was found lying in the back seat.
At Mears' probable cause hearing on November 19, the preliminary investigating officer said King had been partially ejected from the car and was hanging by his feet with his head toward the ground when she arrived at the scene. She said that Mears was pinned behind the steering wheel in the front seat.

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Gilford meadows fields progressing. Harlem Wizards to peform at a fundraiser - 261

 GILFORD — Gilford Meadows Committee Chair Sue Allen and Superintendent Kent Hemingway said last week that the work on the second field is progressing.

He said the newest practice field has been tilled and seeded and should be ready for use next spring.

"The new field had a continental divide," quipped Hemingway and the recent selectman's meeting in referring to the old corn rows that lie under the grass. He said the old corn ridges made it unsafe.

The playing fields at the meadows is an all-volunteer effort with a considerable amount in-kind work being done by various local companies and vendors.

The Meadow's Committee has been working for about 11 years to develop the property that was donated to the Gilford School District by Raymond and Barbara Carye in 2000. The original plan called for a new high school on that site but voters rejected that plan.

Over the past 11 years, the actual football and lacrosse field has been constructed and Gilford Football plays it home games there including tomorrow's homecoming game.

Hemingway said the irrigation system donated by Gilford Well is working "spectacularly" and the newest practice field was tilled with the assistance of Beans and Green owner Andy Howe.

Allen said that an upcoming fundraiser will bring the Harlem Wizards to the High School gymnasium on November 17. The Wizards are a charity comedy basketball team that perform throughout the world entertaining audiences with the basketball antics and raising money mostly for local schools and charities.

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City celebrates end of Main Street Bridge project & opening of Gateway Park

LACONIA — City officials and guests celebrated what Kevin Dunleavy, director of parks and recreation, called "the reopening of the Main Street Bridge and the grand opening of Gateway Park" with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the site last evening.

Director of Public Works Paul Moynihan noted that the bridge, originally constructed in 1972, is a unique structure — unlike any other span in the state — and posed significant challenges the engineer, Dubois & King, Inc. of Laconia, and the contractor R. M. Piper, Inc. of Plymouth.

Perhaps the stiffest test arose from the lack of an as-built design of the structure, which left the team to work from the design documents. But, when the bridge was dismantled they discovered that its structure did not conform to the design, leaving them to re-engineer elements of the project in the course of construction while striving to keep the work on schedule. "It was fun," said Bob Ayers, site superintendent for R.M. Piper. "I've never done a bridge like it."

The bridge is 400 feet across, between Beacon Street East and Beacon Street West, and consists of three spans. "Everything was rebuilt from the abutments up," Moynihan said.

Both Pat Wood of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District Committee and John Morierty, president of the Main Street Initiative, referred to the impact of the project on the community, particularly on those who live and work downtown where traffic was diverted. Wood said that "we listened to each other and worked together to solutions to the problems" while Moriarty stressed that the effects of "interruptions" were minimized and the project was completed "not for but with downtown Laconia."

Moriarty remarked that Melissa McCarthy of The Studio on Canal Street became the official photographer for the project, serving as "the watchful eye of the citizenry which is not an east thing for a contractor to work under." The crew from R.M. Piper presented McCarthy with a hard bedecked with stickers, among one reading "certified camera operator."

Mayor Ed Engler noted that before 1855, when the township of Laconia was established, the bridge connected the townships of Meredith to the north and and Gilford to the south. By the time the town became a city in 1893 the bridge was lined with buildings on both sides, its identity as a bridge obscured to those passing over it. "This is historic ground," he remarked.

The mayor suggested "we stop and appreciate patience," especially the patience of those owning and operating businesses who endured some "tough times" during the construction process. He also reminded everyone that Main Street is a state highway, a major north-south thoroughfare, and that our neighbors in Meredith and Belmont were also affected.

Underling the success of the project, Engler said "lots of good things are happening in downtown Laconia and this is one of them. We've done a lot in the last 15 years," he continued, "but we're not stopping here. We're just getting started."

The reconstruction of the bridge cost $3.57-million, of which state contributed $2-million and the federal government $800,000, leaving the balance to the city. The stonework and landscaping of Gateway Plaza cost$ an additional $240,000, which was underwritten by the city.

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