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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HENNIKER, N.H. -- Police have made an arrest in a fatal hit-and-run crash that closed a section of a major New Hampshire commuting route in Henniker.
Police say a motorcyclist was killed in a crash with a car on Routes 202 and 9 in Henniker shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Police say the car driver fled. After about six hours of searching, including the state police helicopter, officers say they found the car driver.

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N.H. Police Officer Killed In Hit And Run Crash

HENNIKER, N.H. (WBZ) ― A New Hampshire police officer was killed in a hit and run crash on his way home from work early Thursday morning.

Hopkinton Police Officer Sean Powers, 24, was riding his motorcycle on Route 202 in Henniker when he was struck from behind by Jeff Dennis, police said. Powers was then hit by a Honda Civic traveling in the opposite direction.

According to police, Dennis fled the scene, but was later taken into custody after an all-night search that included a state police helicopter and a police dog.

Hopkinton Police Chief David Wheeler told the Manchester Union Leader that Powers joined the department in April and had just completed his field training program. Powers was scheduled to begin training at the police academy at the end of the month.

Powers had served two tours of duty with the Marines in Iraq before joining the police department.
(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Premium Member
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Hopkinton Police Officer Sean Powers, 24, was riding his motorcycle on Route 202 in Henniker when he was struck from behind by Jeff Dennis.
Dennis fled the scene, but was later taken into custody after an all-night search..
Nice guy this Mr. Dennis. Hit (and ultimately kill) someone and keep on going.
You must be very proud of yourself.

What a rotten way for an Iraqi vet to go out. God bless ya Marine.

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HENNIKER - A former Marine who returned home after two tours in Iraq to serve his community as a Hopkinton police officer was killed minutes after his shift ended early yesterday by an alleged drunken driver on Route 202/9.
"He was just a baby -- just a baby. He was like a shiny new penny. All the love and happiness you ever saw," Hopkinton police department secretary Pat Finnerty said of Officer Sean M. Powers, who impressed colleagues with his enthusiasm and dedication since he joined the force April 21.
Powers, 24, of Hillsborough, was riding home on his 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he was hit from behind at about 1:24 a.m. by a 1992 BMW sedan driven by Jeffrey Dennis, 22, of Henniker, authorities allege. Powers was thrown from his motorcycle into the roadway, where seconds later an oncoming motorist struck him again. He died at the scene.
Dennis abandoned his car on the side of the road -- with his passenger still sitting inside -- and ran into the woods where he was taken into custody about six hours later after an intensive foot and air search by local and state police using dogs and a helicopter, Merrimack County Attorney Daniel I. St. Hilaire alleged.
Wearing leg manacles, camouflage cargo shorts and a T-shirt, Dennis shuffled into Concord District Court in stocking feet where he was arraigned on two negligent homicide charges and one count each of aggravated driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a collision.
Citing his record of criminal convictions for similar offenses dating back to 2003, Judge Gerard J. Boyle set bail at $500,000 cash. Dennis could not enter a plea on the four felonies. A probable cause hearing is set for Aug. 19.
Witness: Alleged driver 'looked like he crawled out of a hole'
"Despite these types of convictions, he continues to drive," St. Hilaire said in asking the court to set bail at $400,000 cash. "We feel he is a risk to the public."
Meanwhile, state liquor enforcement investigators are pursuing preliminary reports that Dennis may have been drinking before the fatal collision.
"Early indications are that he was drinking at a licensed establishment. We are actively investigating that," said Eddie Edwards, chief of the New Hampshire Liquor Enforcement Bureau.
Headed home

Powers finished his 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift and briefly worked out in the department's gym before he headed home on his motorcycle, Hopkinton Police Chief David M. Wheeler said.

Minutes later, Hopkinton and Henniker police were called to a collision on Route 202/9. Hopkinton Officer Christopher P. Day, who was working alongside Powers earlier on the night shift, discovered Powers' body on the roadway about five miles from the police station. The collision occurred in the westbound side of the two-lane highway about one-quarter mile west of Route 127 and near the former Golden Pineapple gift shop. An autopsy will be done on Powers' body today.
Another motorist, also heading west on Route 202/9, told police Dennis' car passed him at a high rate of speed shortly before the fatal collision, St. Hilaire said.
Dennis left his male passenger in his car and ran away, St. Hilaire said. The passenger was not charged; his name was not made public.
The second motorist whose 2000 Honda Civic struck Powers after the collision faces no charges, St. Hilaire said. His name also was withheld.
Dennis, of 118 Gould Pond Road, Henniker, has a record of prior criminal convictions for similar offenses and his license was suspended several months ago, St. Hilaire told the judge.
They include an Oct. 13, 2006, conviction in Concord District Court for underage driving while intoxicated and for driving 25 miles over the posted speed limit, he said. Dennis was convicted Nov. 4, 2003, in Goffstown District Court of conduct after an accident and went before the Division of Motor Vehicles for a hearing on his license in that offense, he added.

On Oct. 13, 2006, Dennis was convicted in Concord District Court for resisting arrest and received a suspended 60-day sentence, St. Hilaire said.
Dennis was found guilty last May 27 of possession of a controlled drug; he received a fine and told to undergo counseling, St. Hilaire said. There also was "an issue with his registration and he pleaded guilty to that as well," St. Hilaire said.
A stunning blow

Powers' death shocked the community and the police department where he was one of just seven sworn officers.
"They're all partners," Chief Wheeler said of the tight-knit force.
Powers grew up in Hillsborough and graduated from Hillsboro-Deering High School. He then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Iraq, Wheeler said. He returned from Iraq about a year ago and joined the Hopkinton force April 21. Powers just completed his field training and planned to attend the police academy in Concord Aug. 25.
"He said he had a love for serving the community," Wheeler said.
"I can't tell you how many times, when he was on duty, he would put his arms out and say, 'I take care of the community. They're my community'," the chief said.
"He exemplified the innocence of a new officer ... He was so innocent and yet he had that excitement about him," Wheeler continued.
Lt. Steve S. Pecora, one of Powers' training officers, also was impressed with Powers.
"He would talk about the Marine Corps a lot and his desire to serve the community and to serve the public," Pecora said.
Chief Wheeler was called to the scene of the collision early yesterday and later went to inform Peter and Marilyn Powers that their son was dead.
"I can tell you I've done a lot of those notifications and there has never been one that was more difficult," he said.
Powers' mother, who is a school nurse, had told him how thankful she was to have her son return from Iraq unharmed.
"(She) told me she held her breath every day he was over there and finally felt a sense of relief," Wheeler said.
Powers had four brothers and a steady girlfriend, Amanda, who lives in Salem, said Susan Belida, a family friend who answered the phone at his parents' home.
"He loved God and his country and his family and friends," Belida said.
Powers' brother, Scott, 22, recently returned home from Iraq after serving a tour of duty with the Marines, she said.
The Hopkinton Board of Selectmen expressed their gratitude for Powers' service and sacrifice.
"Officer Powers' death was tragic and needless. We all will miss him," the board said.
New Hampshire Union Leader staff reporter Mark Hayward contributed to this report

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Suspect In Officer Death Has DWI, Crash Record

HOPKINTON, N.H. (WBZ) ― A man accused of killing a Hopkinton, New Hampshire, police officer in a crash this week has a history of fleeing car accidents.

Twenty-two-year-old Jeffrey Dennis was charged with negligent homicide and drunk driving Thursday. Authorities say he rear-ended Officer Sean Powers' motorcycle early that morning then ran off, sparking an all-night search.

Five years ago, Dennis pleaded guilty to driving away after crashing into a mailbox in Weare. In 2006, Powers pleaded guilty to DWI, speeding and resisting arrest after being accused of fleeing after a crash in Concord. He also pleaded guilty to drug possession on and driving with a suspended license this spring and was charged with speeding last month.

Powers, 24, was riding his motorcycle on Route 202 in Henniker when he was struck from behind by Dennis, police said. Powers was then hit by a Honda Civic traveling in the opposite direction.

Witnesses tried to help Powers, but it was too late. "When I got to the scene, I saw a form in the middle of the road and I thought 'Oh, this must be a motorcycle'… and someone said, 'No, that's a body,'" said Jim Ostholthoff, who was camping nearby when he heard the crash.

Dennis was arraigned on Thursday and is being held on $500,000 cash bail. The judge set the high bail after agreeing with the prosecution that Dennis is a flight risk and has a very long criminal record.

Powers had served two tours of duty with the Marines in Iraq before joining the police department.

(© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


13 Posts
This is so sad.. this young officer (only 24) finishes his duty with the Marines, 2 tours in Iraq... headin to the academy in a week, and hes mowed down by a drunk driver on his short ride home from work.
RIP Officer Powers.. youre fellow brothers caught your killer, and may you rest in peace.

MassCops Angel
121,496 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Calling Hours Set For Hopkinton Officer Killed In Crash

Officer's Motorcycle Rear-Ended By Suspected Drunken Driver

HOPKINTON, N.H. -- Calling hours will be held Sunday and Monday for a Hopkinton police officer authorities said was killed by a drunk driver last week.

Officer Sean Powers, 24, of Hillsboro, was on his way home from work early Thursday morning when his motorcycle was rear-ended.

The viewing is scheduled to take place at the Holt-Woodbury Funeral Home in Hillsboro on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Monday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The other driver, Jeffrey Dennis, 22, of Henniker, has been charged with aggravated drunken driving and negligent homicide.

Court records show Dennis had a history of DWI and of fleeing from crashes. But the bar manager at the restaurant where he was drinking before the crash said his staff checked on Dennis just before he left, making eye contact with him, engaging him in conversation and checking for signs of intoxication.

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MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Funeral Held For Officer Killed In Crash

Family, Friends Gather To Remember Officer Powers

Video: Mourners Gather For Powers' Funeral
Images: Funeral For Officer Sean Powers
Unedited Video: Interview With Dan And Scott Powers
Video: Brothers Describe Shock Of Hearing Of Officer's Death
Video: Teens Recall Powers' Words Of Wisdom
Video: Man Charged In Connection With Fatal Collision
Video: Friends Remember Officer Killed In Collision
Thoughts: Share Your Comments
Community Reacts: Read Original Messages

HENNIKER, N.H. -- More than 1,000 people gathered Tuesday for the funeral of Officer Sean Powers, who was remembered as a young man who loved his family and community.

Images: Funeral For Officer Sean Powers

Powers, 24, was killed last week when his motorcycle was struck from behind while he was driving home from a shift at the Hopkinton Police Department.
During the service at St. Theresa's Church in Henniker, speakers recalled the impact Powers had in his life. He joined the Hopkinton police in April after serving two tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines.

Gov. John Lynch said he met Powers last year at a reception for veterans.

"I felt the pride that Sean had in his service to our country and the obvious love he had for life and for his family and for community," Lynch said. "As a Marine, as a police officer and as a brother and as a son, Sean Powers always put others ahead of himself."

Hopkinton Chief David Wheeler described Powers' rookie experience on the force, bringing some laughter to those assembled as he recounted some of the trials and tribulations he had. Wheeler said Powers was already making a difference in the community.

"His ability to engage people was astounding," Wheeler said. "Like the kids of our town -- they loved him. They said, 'Police usually just tell us what to do. Sean told us how to do it.'"

Powers' uncle and godfather, Jackie Donahue, asked those at the funeral to do something in his nephew's memory.

"I challenge you in the memory of Sean Michael Powers to forgive and to be the best 'us' we can be," Donahue said. "Let the Holy Spirit work in your life and empower you."

Powers will be buried Tuesday afternoon at the Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

Friends of Sean Powers have set up a scholarship fund in his name. To make a donation, checks payable to the Sean Powers Memorial Scholarship Fund can be sent in care of:

TD Banknorth
11 School St.
Hillsborough, N.H. 03244

The scholarship will be established at Hillsborough-Deering High School, where Powers graduated.

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MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Probable Cause Found Against Man Charged In Officer's Death

Prosecutors Say Man Drove Drunk, Collided With Officer's Motorcycle

Video: Man Charged With Drunken Driving, Hitting Officer

HENNIKER, N.H. -- A judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors have enough evidence to pursue a case against a man charged in connection with the death of an off-duty Hopkinton police officer.

Prosecutors said that Jeffrey Dennis, 22, was driving drunk and hit and killed a police officer driving his motorcycle home from the Hopkinton Police Department on Aug. 14. Officer Sean Powers was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dennis' family gathered at Henniker District Court for a probable cause hearing and cried when they saw him appear in an orange jail T-shirt and pants. Powers' family and members of the Hopkinton Police Department showed no emotion, and Dennis spent most of the hearing leaning forward in his chair, looking at the floor.
"It's a sad day that we had to even come here for the hearing, but we're pleased by the judge's decision finding probable cause for the arrest," said Dan St. Hillaire, Merrimack County prosecutor.

State Trooper James Decker testified that Dennis had an estimated blood alcohol level of .14 at the time of the collision. That figure was based on a test given eight hours after the collision that showed Dennis with a blood alcohol level below the legal limit.

Dennis' attorney, Jim Rosenberg, questioned Decker extensively about police procedure, asking why police didn't obtain a warrant for the blood test.

"The finger of blame is easy to point and in these cases, hard to defend," Rosenberg said. "And sometimes, as we heard today, there's a rush to judgment. There's actually a substantial absence of information available to the state right now to describe this case."

Police said that before the collision, Dennis was drinking at Chen Yang Li restaurant in Bow, N.H., with a friend. The testified that he spent $20 on drinks, while his friend spent about $50. Police said it still isn't clear how much either of them had to drink.

Investigators earlier said that after the collision on Route 202 in Henniker, Dennis fled the scene and was found about six hours later.

Much of the information about the case is preliminary, and state police said they don't expect to have a final report until some time in September.

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MassCops Angel
121,496 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Memorial Garden Planted In Honor Of Fallen Police Officer

Students, Community Come Together To Plant Garden

HILLSBOROUGH, N.H. -- Students and community members planted a memorial garden Friday in memory of a police officer killed two months ago while riding his motorcycle.
Officer Sean Powers was known for his love of his community, and organizers said they hope that the Sean Powers Memorial Garden will be a way of giving back to his family.
"We are devastated at the loss of Sean," said his mother, Marilyn Powers. "It's a wonderful tribute to him. Do I wish we still had Sean? We do. We have him in our hearts, but he's touched a lot of lives a lot more than we ever knew."
Sean Powers graduated from Hillsborough-Deering High School in 2002. After two tours in Iraq with the Marines he joined the Hopkinton Police Department.

The garden was planted at Hillsborough-Deering Middle School and will serve as an outdoor classroom. Students provided the labor while local residents donated plants from their gardens.

"This is small-town America, and they sure have lightened the load on us a whole lot," said Peter Powers, Sean Powers' father.

"I think it's really good for the community to show how much they cared about Sean Powers," said junior Kaitlyn Boilard.

More than 100 middle and high school students took part in planting the more than 1,500 bulbs and 200 plants.

"I think it's a good thing for us to take part in in honor of Sean," said junior Seth Hallett.

"I think that this is a really good way for the community to give back to Sean because he gave so much to us," said junior Natalia Beaulier.

Organizers said the garden will be tended by students as part of their school community service requirement.

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A Henniker man who pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing an off-duty Hopkinton police officer will likely serve less than four years in prison after a plea agreement yesterday.
Jeffrey Dennis, 22, of Henniker was sentenced 5 to 15 years on two felony counts of negligent homicide and one count of conduct after an accident. A judge ruled that all but four years may be suspended under set conditions; with time served, that number is likely to be lower. The agreement capped an emotional day of testimony from the family and friends of Sean Powers, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War who was killed Aug. 14 after being struck on his motorcycle as he rode home along Route 202/9.
Powers, of Hillsboro, had recently ended a shift at the Hopkinton Police Department at the time of his death.
The plea deal, in part, was reached after Dennis's defense argued that the state did not obtain a warrant before taking one of three blood samples after he was taken into custody following a six-hour manhunt. Dennis, whose criminal record includes two attempts to escape arrest following other accidents, turned himself over to the police after hiding in the woods less than a mile from the crash scene.
After Dennis was taken into custody about 5 a.m., three blood tests were administered throughout the day. The first test, taken about 9 a.m., showed his blood alcohol content at a legal level of 0.05 percent. Blood samples also detected trace amounts of marijuana in Dennis's system.
Without a warrant for the first blood sample, however, the state would have risked losing it as evidence if the case went to trial, Assistant Merrimack County Attorney George Waldron said yesterday.
The accident occurred while Dennis and a friend, Adam Kowalski of Henniker, drove home from the Chen Yang Li bar in Bow about 1:30 a.m. A witness told the police that a 1992 BMW, driven by Dennis, had passed him traveling about 90 mph westbound, shortly before the intersection of the former Golden Pineapple. Less than a minute later, the witness found Powers's lifeless body in the road and heard a vehicle revving its engine, followed by voices fleeing into nearby woods.
Sean Powers's father, Peter Powers, drew sobs from a courtroom packed with police officers, family members and friends as he told Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Carol Ann Conboy about the grief of learning that his 24-year-old son, who served twice in Iraq, was left to die on the road.
"All I can picture is him squirming around on the highway screaming, 'Dad! Dad! Dad!' And for what? Trying to keep the public safe," Peter Powers said. "And (Dennis and Kowalski) go running away like cowards into the night, trying to scream obscenities to the people helping my son."
Peter Powers directed his anger toward the defendant several times as he spoke, advising Dennis to stay away from drugs and alcohol and "try to be the man that Sean was."
"Sean spent more time serving his country longer than you'll be in jail. And that's a fact. He spent more time in the Boy Scouts," Peter Powers said. "All you have to do is be a good boy and probably be paroled in three years and eight months."
A sobbing, red-faced Dennis offered a brief apology to the Powers family after the sentence was handed down.
"I would like to apologize for this tragedy caused by my reckless and careless acts," Dennis said. "There are no words I can say to bring your son back. . . . There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the pain I've caused. I hope you find the sincerity of the words I have said. I am so sorry."
Despite a record scattered with driving while intoxicated charges and a history of fleeing accident scenes, Dennis served no prison time before Powers's death.
On Aug. 13, 2006, Dennis drove drunk in a Chevrolet Blazer on Interstate 89 in Concord, reaching speeds of 93 mph. According to court records, Dennis rolled the SUV off a northbound exit ramp, hit several trees and continued driving. After being confronted by the state police, Dennis tried to escape by running to the woods before being detained, and he refused to tell the arresting officer his name or date of birth, the records said. Records indicate those allegations were later dropped as part of a plea agreement.

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