Police officer and wife dead, 2 injured after 3-vehicle crash on Route 101 due to wrong-way driver

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EPPING, NH – On January 10, 2019, at approximately 11:41 p.m., the New Hampshire State Police Troop-A Barracks was notified of a wrong-way driver on Route 101 westbound in the area of Exit 7.  Within a minute or two of the original call Troopers came across a serious motor vehicle collision involving multiple vehicles on Route 101 westbound in the Town of Epping.

The crash involved three vehicles and resulted in fatal injuries being sustained by two occupants in one of the vehicles involved.  The first vehicle, a 1998 Dodge 1500 pickup operated by Ryan Kittredge, 31, of Derry, had reportedly made a U-turn on Route 101 westbound and was traveling eastbound. Kittredge was transported to Exeter Hospital with serious injuries and later taken by Med-Flight to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The second vehicle involved was a 2008 Chevrolet Impala operated by Townsend (Mass.) Police Sgt. John Johnson, 58, of New Ipswich and his wife,  Heidi Johnson, 57, a passenger. The Johnsons were pronounced dead at the scene.  On Friday Townsend Police posted the following, acknowledging the devastating loss to the community.

The third vehicle was a 2015 Ford Fusion operated by Andrew Neeper, 23, of Raymond, Neeper was transported to the Exeter hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Due to the severity of the crash, the New Hampshire Collision Analysis and Reconstruction (C.A.R.) Unit was requested to respond to the scene and assist with the investigation.

Initial investigation revealed that Kittredge had made a u-turn on Route 101 westbound somewhere in the area of Exit 7 and was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane. The Impala driven by Johnson was traveling westbound in the right hand lane and was unable to avoid the collision with the Dodge Pickup.  This impact disabled both vehicles blocking both lanes of Route 101.  The 2015 Ford Fusion operated by Neeper was also traveling westbound in the right lane was unable to see the vehicles blocking the roadway as they were completely dark and collided with the 1998 Dodge 1500.

As a result of the collision, Route 101 westbound at Exit 7 was closed for several hours as the investigation was conducted.  The New Hampshire State Police were assisted on scene by the Epping Police Department, Epping Fire Department, Brentwood Fire Department, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Anyone that may have further information relating to this collision is encouraged to contact Trooper Daniel Quartulli of the New Hampshire State Police CAR Unit at 603-223-8993 or at daniel.quartulli@dos.nh.gov.