Mass. Police Sgt., Wife Killed in Wrong-Way Crash in NH

Authorities say Townsend Police Sgt. John Johnson and his wife Heidi died at the scene of the wrong-way crash in Epping, New Hampshire

What to Know

  • Authorities say Townsend Police Sgt. John Johnson and his wife Heidi died at the scene of a wrong-way crash on Route 101 in Epping, NH.
  • Police say Ryan Kittredge's pickup truck made a U-turn on Route 101, going eastbound in a westbound lane, when he hit the Johnson's car.
  • A third vehicle was also involved in the crash. That driver, Andrew Neeper, has non-life-threatening injuries.

A Massachusetts police sergeant and his wife were killed in a wrong-way crash on Route 101 in New Hampshire on Thursday night, according to officials.

Authorities say Townsend Police Sgt. John Johnson, 58, was killed along with his wife, 57-year-old Heidi Johnson when their 2008 Chevrolet Impala was hit head-on by a 1998 Dodge 1500 pickup truck going eastbound in a westbound lane in Epping just after 11:30 p.m.

The driver of the pickup truck, identified as 31-year-old Ryan Kittredge, had made a U-turn into the wrong lane, according to New Hampshire State Police.

A third car was also involved in the crash after Andrew Neeper's Ford Fusion was unable to see the crash unfolding before him and hit the other vehicles.

Police say Sgt. Johnson and Heidi Johnson died at the scene. Johnson was a 34-year veteran of the Townsend Police Department, according to Townsend Police Chief Richard Bailey.

"Right now, we are just meeting as a family, trying to keep each other together and work this out as best we can," said Bailey. "It's a tragic, tragic loss."

Kittredge was first taken to Exeter Hospital with serious injuries and was eventually taken to Massachusetts General Hospital via a medical helicopter. His current condition is unclear.

Neeper, 23, was taken to Exeter Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. His current condition is also unclear.

The westbound lanes of Route 101 near the area of Exit 7 were closed for several hours as officials investigated the scene.

Residents say it's a tight-knit community and everyone is grieving.

"Everybody is talking about it, you go to the local market and there's tears everywhere," said Kim Phinney, who lives in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, not far from Townsend.

Phinney says while there are a lot of heavy hearts, a lot of people are also mad at the senseless way the couple died.

"It makes me angry, very angry," Phinney said. "Innocent people are being hurt, lives are taken, families destroyed, and it's just not right."

As of Friday, no charges have been filed and the investigation remains ongoing. Due to the severity of the crash, the New Hampshire Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit is assisting with the investigation.

Calling hours for John and Heidi will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Anderson Funeral Home in Townsend Center. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Jan. 18 at St. John's Church in Townsend.

Anyone who witnessed the fatal crash 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.

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