Motorist arrested in Dec. 9 Londonderry crash caused by ice that dislodged from his truck

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Above: Dec. 18 Londonderry/NH State Police press conference reinforcing the need to clean off vehicles of ice and snow as per Jessica’s Law. Video/Jeffrey Hastings


LONDONDERRY, NH  – On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at about 12:30 p.m. Richard Leiter, 60 of Derry, turned himself in at Londonderry Police headquarters to answer for charges resulting from a traffic-related crash with serious injury that occurred on Dec. 9, 2020, on Rte 102 at approximately 1:35 p.m., according to Londonderry Police Department’s Facebook page.

First responders found a large chunk of ice and snow that had dislodged from a box truck driven by Leiter, who was traveling west. The ice chunk struck a Honda Accord traveling east Young Road. The ice and snow shattered a portion of the Honda Accord’s driver’s side windshield and continued into the vehicle striking the driver, Michael Conry, 22, of Londonderry. Leiter, who was unaware of what had happened, continued on Rte 102 toward Hudson and was alerted to the crash by a witness who saw what had occurred. Leiter returned to the crash scene where he awaited law enforcement and first responders; he cooperated with officers after they arrived.
Aftermath of an accident on Route 102 in Londonderry due to ice from another vehicle crashing through the windshield. Photo/Londonderry Police

Conry was transported to a local hospital for serious but nonlife-threatening injuries to his face and eye, according to police. Officers later learned that he also suffered lacerations to his face and allegedly had glass lodged in his eye, which will require additional surgeries to remove and repair.

Leiter was charged with vehicular assault, a class-A misdemeanor; reckless conduct, a class-A misdemeanor; negligent driving. He is set to be arraigned in the Derry District Court on February 17, 2021, at 8:30 a.m.

Londonderry Police Department in coordination with the NH State Police held a press conference on Dec. 18, 2020, (see video above) to reinforce Jessica’s Law, which requires drivers to remove snow and ice from atop their vehicles before driving them on a public way. Chief Scott Guinard of the Peterborough Police Department offered brief remarks. Chief Guinard was a responding officer to the crash in 1999 that killed Jessica Smith, after whom the NH statute on Negligent Driving is named. They said the accident should be a reminder to all motorists to clean their vehicles of all ice and snow.