Selectmen agree to leave most of Potter Hill Road as is

GILFORD — Selectmen have decided to construct a T-intersection at the corner of Potter Hill Road and Cherry Valley Road, hoping that it is one step that can be taken to slow down traffic on the road.

The board also decided to pave the road from the T-intersection up to the recently repaired culvert and leave the rest of the hill as ledge pack and not pavement. The town will also install a solar powered speed sign.

Selectmen have been grappling with the future of Potter Hill road for about three months, after the majority of the people who live on the road came to the board in opposition to a plan by the town to rebuild the entire road in 2017.

Lead by residents Gary Kiedaisch and Sandra McGonagle, residents agreed that if the town completely rebuilds Potter Hill Road, speeding, which they say is already a problem, will increase tremendously.

Their suggestion was to remove the pavement entirely and regrade the road with some drainage improvements. They also agreed that a T-intersection where the road connects to Cherry Valley Road will force traffic turning left to come to nearly a complete stop rather than enter onto what looks like a paved runoff or emergency ramp for a tractor trailer.

Recent Police Department radar and speed investigations showed that at least half of the people who use Potter Hill Road are exceeding the 25 mile per hour speed limit at some point and that a few of them are going as much as 40 to 50 mph in some spots.

Passenger files suit against driver who crashed car on Cherry Valley Road in 2015

LACONIA — A woman who was a passenger in a car that crashed on Cherry Valley Road while allegedly racing a friend in August of 2015 has filed suit against the driver who subsequently pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated.

Tanya Hicks of Laconia claims she and a male friend were passengers in Andrew Lagace's Mitsubishi Lancer on Aug. 29 at 1 a.m. and were coming from a Gilford night club when the crash occurred and that she suffered elbow, hip, neck, knee and head injuries from a speaker, that struck her after coming loose.

Hick's complaint, filed in Belknap County Superior Court, says Lagace was driving "no less than 87 miles per hour" along the winding, dark road and was forced to slam on his brakes at the crest of the road near Gunstock Inn and Resort because the woman he was racing slowed to 40 mph to make a left turn onto White Birch Drive.

The suit said the headlights were dimmer than that required by N.H. State Inspection laws.

Lagace lost control of the car, which according to police affidavits, veered to the left side of the road and went off onto the shoulder. Tire marks suggested a loss of control.

A police accident reconstruction indicated the left wheel struck a rock, deflecting the car into an "uncontrollable slide" after which it struck another rock and flipped and rolled onto it's side.

Police noted containers of alcohol in and near the car as well as an odor of alcohol as they approached it. An EMT said Lagace, who was ejected and seriously injured, had an odor of alcohol on his breath. Police obtained a warrant for his blood and determined his blood-alcohol level was .09, which is more than the legal limit.

Affidavits indicted Hicks and the third passenger were out of the car when police arrived.

Hicks claims Lagace was negligent when he violated the posted speed limit by driving with without properly functioning headlights, and by driving while intoxicated on a hilly, curvy road. She said his actions were the direct cause of her injuries.

She seeks enhanced compensation because she said his actions were "wanton" and showed a "reckless indifference" for the consequences. Hicks said she was unable to pursue her normal activities for a long time after the crash and incurred more than $15,000 in medical expenses.

Hicks also seeks enhanced damages because of Lagace's oppressive acts in that he owed her a duty of care because she was a passenger in his vehicle.

She claims he breached that duty when showed an abuse of his power by failing to slow down when she and the other passenger begged him to.

Lagace has not yet filed a response to the suit.

WOW Trail ribbon cutting postponed

LACONIA — The official opening of the phase two of the WOW (recreation) Trail scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. has been postponed, according to trail executive directer Gretchen Gandini. She said the ribbon cutting ceremonywill be rescheduled.

Phase two of the now two-plus mile long paved trail runs from North Main Street (across from the Public Library) to the Belmont town line, where it connects to the Winnisquam Trail built by that township.

The entire trail is now totally paved and open for public use and enjoyment.