LACONIA — The Kingston man at the wheel of the Cadillac sedan that recently careened into trees off Parade Road leaving one passenger dead and another injured is being held in Belknap County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail following his arraignment on charges of negligent homicide, second degree assault and aggravated driving while intoxicated in Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday.
Ryan Mears, 26, was arrested by Laconia police early Tuesday afternoon upon his release from Concord Hospital, where he was treated for injuries sustained in the collision that took the life of Tiffany Nieves, 28, of 24 Estates Circle, Laconia and severely injured Jeremy King, 28, of Atkinson.
Prosecutor Jim Sawyer requested $15,000 cash bail, telling the court that Mears has a significant criminal history, including felony convictions for theft as well as convictions for simple assault.
According to the affidavit of Officer Holly Callanan, who was the first to reach the scene of the collision, Mears told her he drank "three or four beers" and "three shots" as well as used cocaine before the crash, which occurred shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 2.
Callanan stated that she spoke with the woman who reported the incident, who told her that she followed the Cadillac as the two cars traveled northward past the former site of the Laconia State School. Twice, she said, the Cadillac swerved, once crossing the white fog line then crossing the double yellow line before speeding out of her sight. She said that after passing through the intersection at Meredith Center Road she found the Cadillac in the road, "wrecked," and heard the driver yell "help" and "hurry." She called 911.
From the tire marks in the road, Callanan, determined that just past the intersection with Meredith Center Road the sedan swerved off the road, briefly tracked the northbound lane then crossed into the southbound lane, left the road, struck the trees and caromed back to the center of Parade Road. The Belknap Regional Accident Investigation Team is investigating the incident.
Callahan said that King had been partially ejected from the window on the passenger side of the vehicle, appeared to have multiple injuries and was "drifting in and out of consciousness." Nieves, who was laying between the front and rear seats, was not responsive and pronounced dead at the scene. Mears was pinned between the driver's seat and steering column.
King was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital with life threatening injuries and soon after to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where he is still being treated for multiple injuries.
Mears was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital, where Callanan spoke with him after the collision. She reported that he told her that he had been drinking at a tavern in Belmont and used cocaine earlier that evening. Police found a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey in the Cadillac. Callanan described Mears's speech as "heavily slurred" and his responses as "delayed." She said that she smelt alcohol on his breath and noticed he struggled to hold a pen and write his name. He was arrested at the hospital and charged with aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, a class B felony.
The charge of negligent homicide, while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, is a class A felony and carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Second degree assault is a class B felony with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Aggravated driving while intoxicated is a class B felony and carries a fine, jail sentence and license revocation.