Driver Crashes Into Sugar River
State Trooper Tried To Pull Truck Over
Claremont — A North Walpole teen who escaped injury in a harrowing morning crash into the Sugar River in a pickup truck he allegedly stole with a friend, was arraigned Friday in Claremont Fifth Circuit Court on multiple charges.
Travis Hattey, 18, of 44 Center St. in North Walpole, is being charged with receiving stolen property, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, conduct after and accident, disobeying an officer and driving while intoxicated. He is being held at the House of Corrections in Unity on $2,500 cash bail.
According to Hattey’s statement to police, Korbin Bacon, 17, of Westminster, Vt., who was in the vehicle at this time of the crash, is the one who stole it from a home on Church Street in North Walpole. He has not been charged, but that could change.
Sgt. Dan Brow of the New Hampshire State Police in Keene said Friday that as the investigation continues, additional charges are possible.
A six-page affidavit from New Hampshire State Trooper Charles Newton details the events leading up to Hattey’s arrest at a Pleasant Street convenience store around 9:45 Friday morning.
Newton first observed Hattey’s vehicle on North Street around 3:20 Friday morning while in the parking lot at Barnes Park.
Because Hattey had only his parking lights on, Newton decided to investigate. He followed Hattey while the latter drove on a few Claremont side streets and planned to make a vehicle stop at the bottom of Elm Street near Main Street because he suspected the driver was impaired.
Then Hattey accelerated and began driving erratically before speeding up through the Main Street intersection and onto Factory Street at around 50 mph. After about 150 yards, the Toyota Tundra launched into the air, sheared some bark off two trees and dropped about 50 feet into the Sugar River.
“The total pursuit time was less than 30 seconds and involved less than a half mile,” Newton wrote.
Newton ran to the steep embankment where he heard the sound of people splashing in the water. Claremont Officer Justin Laffin arrived and Newton saw both men swimming away from the truck. He said Hattey was struggling but also ranting how he “didn’t trust police.”
Laffin and Newton secured a rope to a tree to grab Hattey, who was hanging on to a rock. But when the two officers returned to the water’s edge, Hattey was gone. A dive team searched for a few hours but found no sign of the driver.
Bacon had exited the vehicle and swam to the other side. Soaking wet, he knocked on the door of a home on Sullivan Street around 4 a.m. and called a family member for a ride back to Vermont. When police spoke with him later in the morning, Bacon told police Hattey picked him up and told him the vehicle was stolen and that he also urged Hattey to pull over when Trooper Newton tried to stop them.
Hattey, who was spotted by officer Laffin on Pleasant Street and arrested, told police he was the lookout while Bacon took the vehicle and drove until they came to Claremont, at which time Hattey got behind the wheel.
After being read his rights, Hattey admitted to speeding from police and consuming two beers and a glass of wine. He was given a breathalyzer test.
The vehicle was removed from the river by Reed’s Truck Services.
Patrick O’Grady can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.