From tragedy to the fury of Mother Nature, there was no shortage of major stories in our region in 2019. Here are the 10 most-read stories of the year, in reverse order.
10. Trick-or-Treating Delayed Due to Powerful Storm: A powerful Halloween storm toppled trees and utility poles, knocking out power for over 300,000 customers across New England. As a result, many communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire postponed trick-or-treating activities until a later date.
9. Boston Accent Ranked Second-Sexiest In America: In a story that drew sarcastic comments across social media, a survey run by the travel company Big 7 across its 1.5 million social media followers showed that the famous (infamous?) Boston accent was the second sexiest accent in the country. Many on Twitter disagreed, and the story went viral as people pilloried the travel company's rankings.
8. Mass. Police Sgt., Wife Killed in Wrong-Way Crash in NH: On January 11, Townsend Police Sgt. John Johnson, 58, and his wife, 57-year-old Heidi Johnson, were killed when a wrong-way driver struck their vehicle on Route 101 in Epping, New Hampshire. A New Hampshire man, accused of driving drunk, plead guilty to manslaughter and reckless conduct and was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison in connection with the crash.
7. EEE Threat Grips New England: The summer and fall were marked by concerns over eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, a rare, potentially deadly virus spread by mosquitoes. Massachusetts reported that 12 people contracted the virus and that three people had died of EEE. The outbreak caused deaths in Rhode Island and Connecticut as well.
6. Body Pulled From Lamprey River in NH Is Missing Woman: In May, authorities announced that a body pulled from the Lamprey River in Epping, New Hampshire was that of a missing 25-year-old Manchester woman. Police said Nicole Davis was camping with her friends when she went for a walk before going missing. The death was determined to be accidental.
5. Woman Goes Missing at Boston Bar, Eventually Located by Police: On the evening of Jan. 19, a 23-year-old woman went missing after last being seen at Hennessy's, an Irish pub near Boston's Faneuil Hall. Her family began handing out missing person posters and the Boston police quickly got involved as well, releasing surveillance footage showing her leaving the bar with a male subject. She was eventually found several days later in the Charlestown apartment of 38-year-old Victor Pena, who was later indicted for kidnapping and raping the woman.
4. Sharks, Sharks, Sharks: A year after the region dealt with two shark attacks, beaches on Cape Cod were forced to issue frequent, temporary swimming bans due to shark sightings. Sharks were sighted off Cape Cod over 200 times this year, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app. The sightings reportedly contributed to a decrease in attendance at federally managed Cape Cod National Seashore beaches.
3. That Crazy New England Weather: Boston may have received less snow in 2019 than the previous year, but New Englanders had plenty of major weather events to talk about in 2019. In July, three EF-1 tornadoes touched down on Cape Cod, ripping off roofs and knocking down trees. More recently, in early December, a three-day storm dumped as much as three feet of snow along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border.
2. Tragedy in NH as 7 Motorcyclists Are Killed in a Horrific Crash: One of the deadliest crashes in New Hampshire history left a community of motorcyclists in mourning in June. Seven people, many of them Marine veterans, were killed on the evening of June 21 when a Dodge pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with a group of 10 motorcyclists, members of the Massachusetts chapter of the JarHeads Motorocycle Club. Seven of the motorcyclists died, and three others were injured. The pickup truck was driven by 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy from Ukraine, who now faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the crash. Zhukovskyy's license should have been suspended, prompting an overhaul of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Wild Video of Apparent Road Rage Incident on the Mass. Pike: In late January, an NBC10 Boston employee captured incredible video of a road rage incident on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The video showed an SUV driving a significant distance with a man on the hood of his vehicle. State police said the incident started with a minor sideswiping in Weston which carried over onto Interstate 90. After a verbal altercation, 65-year-old Richard Kamrowski of Framingham allegedly jumped onto a white Infiniti SUV being driven by 37-year-old Mark Fitzgerald of Lynn. Police said Fitzgerald drove "a very significant distance" with Kamrowski on the hood, slowing and accelerating when he wouldn't get off the vehicle. At times, speeds reached 70 mph. Good Samaritans eventually intervened, with one pointing a gun at the SUV to get the driver to stop. Fitzgerald and Kamrowski were both charged in connection with the incident.