NH State Trooper killed after tractor-trailer hits cruiser on I-95

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Scene of fatal crash on I-95 in Portsmouth on Oct. 28, 2021. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire has lost a veteran state trooper in the line of duty. Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Sherrill was killed in an accident that is being investigated on Interstate 95 early Thursday morning.

The crash occurred about 12:33 a.m. between the cruiser and a tractor-trailer near the northbound exit 5 at Portsmouth.

Sherrill was a veteran officer of the state police for 19 years and prior to that served as a police officer in Hooksett. He was assistant troop commander of Troop A in Epping.

Nathan Noyes, colonel of the New Hampshire State Police held a press conference at 11 a.m. which was also attended by Gov. Chris Sununu. The investigation into the crash is being handled by Maine State Police.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was treated and released from Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Noyes said Sherrill was working a paving detail with Brox Industries installing rumble strips when the accident occurred in a mobile work zone. It was scheduled for work from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

A 9-1-1 caller reported a serious accident at 12:33 a.m., Noyes said.

Emergency personnel responded and Sherrill and the driver of the tractor-trailer were taken to the hospital where Sherrill was pronounced deceased.

With the state police request and approval of the Rockingham County Attorney, Maine state police crash reconstruction unit and the Maine State Police Troop K Commercial Enforcement Unit are investigating, Noyes said.

NH State Police Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Sherrill

Sherrill began his career in law enforcement in 2001 in Hooksett. He was hired by New Hampshire State Police on Dec. 13, 2002, and during 19 years held various assignments from Troop F in the North Country, the Attorney General’s Task Force, and Troop A in the South where he became assistant troop commander. He was promoted in August.

Noyes, who lost his own father, a state trooper, in the line of duty, said Sherrill was known as a “trooper’s trooper, a consummate dedicated professional and a true family man.” Noyes asked for privacy on behalf of Sherrill’s family.

He said more information would be provided when it becomes available by Maine State Police, NHSP, and the Rockingham County Attorney’s office. Those with information about the incident are asked to call 603-223-4381.

Sununu said the entire state of New Hampshire is mourning the loss.

“He was an individual who nobly answered that call to service and who was steadfast and devoted to the safety and well-being of all of his fellow granite staters.”

In honor of his service, the governor directed all flags on state grounds to immediately fly at half staff through sunset on Oct. 31.

“We want to extend our sincerest condolences to the family, to the men and women who serve beside him in the state police” and reiterated the request for privacy for what is a very trying time for the family, he said.

A statement was released Thursday by Manchester Police Department via its social media acconts:

The Manchester Police Department is deeply saddened to learn of the death of New Hampshire State Police Staff Sergeant Jesse Sherrill, who was killed this morning while protecting the citizens of New Hampshire. We work closely with State Police and extend our condolences to the Trooper’s family, friends, and the entire State Police organization.

“The Manchester Police Department stands with the New Hampshire State Police during this extremely difficult time” says Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg. “Our greatest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and the State Police and we grieve alongside you. The law enforcement community in New Hampshire is small and many Manchester Police officers knew SSGT Sherrill personally and professionally”.

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Paula Tracy

Veteran reporter Paula Tracy writes for InDepthNH.org