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Driver Held Without Bail In Crash That Killed Retired Townsend Police Officer And Wife

EPPING, N.H. (CBS) - The man accused of causing the death of a retired Townsend police officer and his wife in a head-on crash in Epping will be held without bail.

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State Police say Ryan Kittredge of Derry made a u-turn in pickup truck on Route 101 just before the crash. (Photo credit: Epping, NH Fire Dept.)

Ryan Kittredge, 31, of Derry, is being charged with negligent homicide and felony reckless conduct. He was arraigned Friday afternoon in Rockingham Superior Court.

The judge ordered Kittredge held without bail, noting Kittredge's "wildly reckless conduct" and two previous DUIs.

Police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday, and Kittredge turned himself in to Epping police Friday morning.

Police said Kittridge made a U-turn into oncoming traffic on Route 101 in Epping, N.H., slamming into a Chevy Impala on Jan. 10.

The driver, John Johnson, 58, and his wife Heidi Johnson, 57, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Andrew Neeper, 23, of Raymond, then struck Kittredge's pickup truck, which was positioned across the road after the initial crash. Neeper was transported to Exeter Hospital with minor injuries. Kittredge was transported to Exeter Hospital and taken by Med-Flight to a Boston hospital.

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Ryan Kittredge (WBZ-TV)

The Townsend Police requested that Sgt. Johnson's handcuffs be used in Kittredge's arrest. As he was led outside, Kittridge said he was sorry for the crash.

"At this time, investigators feel impairment was a contributing factor in the causation of this crash," said Lieutenant John Hennessey of New Hampshire State Police. Official toxicology results have not been received yet.

Hennessey said that because of a rise in the road where the crash happened, the Johnsons had "no chance at all" of seeing the approaching vehicle.

"Unfortunately we see this type of tragic crash all the time. It's preventable. It shouldn't have happened. It was tragic," Hennessey said.

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Sgt. John Johnson. (Photos credit: Townsend Police)

Sgt. Johnson retired from the Townsend Police Department in July 2018 after almost 40 years on the force. He and his wife were returning home after seeing their great-neice's basketball game in Maine.

Townsend Deputy Chief James Sartell said the tragedy has affected not just the Townsend Police Department but the community, as well.

"We're elated that progress has been made in the investigation. Unfortunately, nothing dulls the pain of losing two fixtures of the community like Mr. and Mrs. Johnson," Sartell said.

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