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Retired Substance Abuse Counselor Killed By Driver Allegedly High On Heroin

SALEM, N.H. (CBS) – A New Hampshire man is being held on $65,000 bail after he was charged with being high on heroin during a crash that killed a retired substance abuse counselor.

Police say 45-year-old Todd Gurley blew through a stop sign entering Route 111 and forced another vehicle head on into the path of a car that 69-year-old Charlene Bushek was a passenger in.

"If she were here today she'd forgive him. That's the type of person she was," said Bushek's nephew, Steven Allen.

Salem crash
A woman was killed in a crash on Route 111 in Salem, NH (WBZ-TV)

Police say Gurley was impaired at the time of the crash.

"It is so ironic knowing Charlene, I know that she would say it's the disease not the person," said former co-worker Susan Bennett.

Those who know Bushek say her gift was understanding the struggle of addiction. She helped countless people with recovery.

"She was very gentle, like a mother figure to the clients. She brought compassion needed to the client," said Urzula Montminy who worked with Bushek at a Lawrence treatment center.

todd gurley
Todd Gurley is arraigned on November 2 following a fatal crash. (WBZ-TV)

Police say Gurley was driving with a suspended license and tried to hide the heroin they say he had in his car.

Prosecutor Jason Grosky says Gurley showed signs of opiate abuse.

"They saw a number of different signs of impairment including constricted pupils, slurred speech, thick tongue," Grosky said.

Charlene Bushek
Charlene Bushek. (Courtesy Photo)

Family members say they feel a mixture of anger and sadness given the dedication Bushek had for her work and the accusation against the man now charged with her death.

"We're shaken up by this," said Allen.

Bushek's husband David was behind the wheel of the car and remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

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