Snow squall sparks 35-car pileup on I-93 in Ashland

ASHLAND — Dillon Maloney of Hollis, a 21-year-old student at the University of New Hampshire, was headed to Loon Mountain in Lincoln for a day on the ski slopes Friday morning when a snow squall, which he said ''came out of nowhere'', hit Interstate 93 in Ashland less than a mile north of Exit 24, shortly before 10 a.m..
''I came around on a corner and there were 15 or 20 cars piled up in front of me. I hit the brakes but couldn't avoid them and slid into the pile. I was really lucky. I could see a number of people with head and facial injuries. Cars kept coming up behind me and sliding into the pileup,'' said Maloney.
He said that while he was waiting for a tow truck in his car, about 10 minutes after his crash, he heard ''a ping and then a boom'' and that smoke came pouring out of a truck and a vehicle behind it.
''The state police evacuated the scene and it was a while before I could get my car back,'' said Maloney, who finally got to see it again just around noon as it was hauled into the parking area next to Ashland Liquor store by Rusty's Towing of Tilton, where it was picked up by a wrecker and hauled back to Hollis.
He said that State Police handled the situation very well and worked to get everyone whose vehicle was capable of being driven away from the accident scene onto the highway and out of the area as soon as possible.
State Police said there were actually two separate accident scenes spread out over a half mile of highway which is marked by signs giving warnings of high winds in that area. They said the most serious crash involved a vehicle which slid under a tractor trailer. Both vehicles caught fire but the driver of the car escaped. The fire was quickly extinguished by local firefighters.
Ashland Fire Chief Steve Heath said that 11 people suffered injuries, none of which were life-threatening. ''Most were cuts and bruises,'' said Heath.
He said that seven people were taken to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth for treatment and that four were transported to Franklin Regional Hospital.
The northbound lane of Rte. 93 was closed at Exit 24 for several hours with traffic diverted onto Rte. 3 but I-93 southbound was not affected.
A large number of wreckers responded to the accident scene and the highway's northbound lane was reopened to traffic at 1:30 p.m.

CAPTION: pixslugged 93 driver
Dillon Maloney, a 21-year-old UNH student, was one of the drivers involved in a 35-car pileup on Rte. 93 in Ashland less than a mile north of the Rte. 24 exit Friday morning. Maloney was headed to Loon Mountain in Lincoln for a day on the ski slopes when a blinding snow squall hit the area. His car suffered front end damage in the pileup. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Barnstead man said to have choked girlfriend in bathtub

CIRCUIT COURT — A South Barnstead Road man is free on $3,000 personal recognizance bail after he allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend at their home during an argument on December 18.

Michael Bliss, 29, is said to have been drinking when he pushed his girlfriend into a bathtub and then choked her.

On the night of the alleged altercation, Bliss was charged by police with one count of simple assault, one count of second degree assault and one count of criminal threatening. He was released on $800 personal recognizance bail and told to stay away from his home.

Bliss told responding officers that one of the reasons the two were arguing was that the night before, his girlfriend has allegedly allowed their toddler to drink an entire bottle of amoxicillin.

Bliss filed a motion without the assistance of counsel in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division asking the judge to allow him to return home.

During that hearing, Bliss was formerly arraigned on the three charges — one of which is a felony — and Judge Jim Carroll asked a public defender to work with him before he began talking in open court.

After reviewing the affidavits, Carroll determined that Bliss's personal recognizance bail should go from $800 to $3,000 but said that he could contact his girlfriend via text and telephone in matters regarding his son.

Carroll did no allow Bliss to return home and he is still not to go within 100 feet of where his girlfriend is.

Gilmanton voters will have chance on Monday to hear 2015 town & school budgets explained

GILMANTON — After shaving off a few more thousand more dollars from the proposed 2015 annual budget Tuesday night, selectmen will be presenting a $3,498,074 spending plan to the Budget Committee for its public hearing on January 5.

The budget, which included all of the proposed warrant articles, is $270,000 less than the 2014 bottom line number of $3,768,526.

The default budget is $3,698,583.

At their meeting Tuesday, selectmen voted against spending $25,000 to do some repair work in the rear parking lot of the Life Safety Building and decided to wait until next year to purchase a 6-wheel dump truck for the Public Works Department.

Selectmen agreed that with 80,000 miles and the shape its in, the truck wouldn't loose much value from this year to next on a trade in and the town could easily get an additional year of use out of it.

The 6-wheeler was estimated to cost about $300,000 — $150,000 of which is already in the Capital Reserve Highway Equipment Fund.

Selectmen also had a lengthy discussion about whether or not to lower the amount of money budget for fuel and gas for 2015 in light of recently falling global oil prices.

While selectman Brett Currier was in favor of lowering the amounts, members Stephen McCormack and Don Guarino as well as Town Administrator Arthur Capello said they didn't like the idea.

The three argued that should fuel prices spike in 2015, the town could come up short. Capello also said that if they were to lower the amount for 2015, that amount would be locked in to the 2016 default budget and the town could run short then as well.

Currier conceded and the fuel amounts budgeted stayed the same.

The budget number also includes a 1.5-percent pay raise for all employee. Selectmen unanimously agreed a raise was appropriate that was consistent with the 1.6 cost-of-living or inflation index.

The 2015 budget also includes money for a new police cruiser — using $2,300 in the Police Cruiser Capital Replacement Fund and raiding the $32,600 balance from taxation.

Although the bottom line includes the petitioned warrant article appropriation of $45,975 for Gilmanton-Year-Round Library operating expenses, all three selectmen voted unanimously not to recommend its passage. The library, though open to the public, is privately owned and town support for the institution has been a continuous issue in the community for nearly a decade.

The Gilmanton School District public budget hearing begins at 6 p.m. in the Gilmanton Academy on January 5 and the town's public hearing begins when the School District hearing ends.

Concord man extrdicted from Arkansas to face Opechee Point lewdness charge

LACONIA — The man who allegedly exposed himself to a group of minors at Opechee Park Point on September 1 was arrested recently in Arkansas and transported to N.H by the United States Marshall's Service.

Daniel King, 53, whose address is listed as homeless in Concord, was arraigned on one felony charge of indecent exposure and lewdness Wednesday morning at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

He is being held in the Belknap County Jail on $50,000 cash-only bail.

According to affidavits from the court, Laconia Police said they received a report that an adult male was exposing himself in front of young children but that he had left the area.

Police reviewed video footage obtained from the Laconia Middle School located at the edge of the park and saw a subject fitting the description given by the children driving a green Ford Explorer that he parked by the loading ramp.

The subject walked down the path behind the school toward Opechee Point and is seen several minutes later exiting the path. The video shows the green Ford leaving the school grounds.

While examining the video, police were able to get a license plate number and matched it to King, who is the owner of the car.

On September 19, police met with King at the Concord Police Department. In that meeting, he initially denied being in Laconia within the past few months. Once he was shown several photos of him and his car at the Middle School, he remembered passing through Laconia while en route to the Belknap Mall.

On September 1, he remembered eating dinner with a friend at a Union Avenue restaurant and said he was with here the entire day. He continued to deny being on Opechee Point or in that general area.

On September 24, police monitored a interview with an 11-year-old female gave a very good description of King and told police he was manipulating his genitals with one hand while exposing them with the other.

After the interview, she was given a photo line up of eight men and picked King out of it after looking for only a very short time. When asked how sure she was based on a scale of 1 to 10, she said 8.

Later that day, police also got a call from the woman with whom King professed to have spent the entirely of September 1. The woman told police initially she spend the whole day with him.

When police told her about the videos obtained from the school and told her that he had been convicted of of sex offenses involving children as young a 6-years-old, she said she was unaware of that and told police she needed some time to thing about it.

The next day she said she had severed all ties with King but wouldn't fill out a written statement about September 1.

Affidavits said King is a Tier III registered sex offender who is required to report for sex offenses against a 6-year-old following a 1991 conviction. His record also shows convictions for disorderly conduct in 1988 and three count of indecent exposure and lewdness in 2006.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was located by police in Garland County, Arkansas.

King has a probable cause hearing scheduled for January 15.