Chelsea Man Dies in Crash In Tunbridge

A photograph of Simon Walters from Facebook.

A photograph of Simon Walters from Facebook.

Tunbridge — A Chelsea man died early Sunday morning after crashing his Subaru into the bridge at the Route 110 and Strafford Road junction, authorities say.

The Orange County Sheriff Department said Simon Walters, 25, was transported to Gifford Medical Center about a half hour after midnight, where he was pronounced dead on arrival after complications from cardiac arrest.

Authorities said he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

“It’s very unfortunate,” said Gail Lund, an administrator with the sheriff’s department. “This an example of where a seat belt could have saved a life.”

Lund said the sheriff’s department responded around 12:05 a.m. First Branch Ambulance, a volunteer emergency medical service staffed by Tunbridge and Chelsea residents, arrived about 10 minutes later.

Because Walters’ condition worsened, the sheriff’s department suspended its effort to transport him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Instead, an ambulance rushed him to Gifford Medical Center.

The crash is still under investigation, Lund said, and it’s unknown whether alcohol or speed were factors.

“A toxicology test was done Sunday,” Lund said, “but it’s hard to pinpoint at this time. We don’t usually have many fatal accidents in Tunbridge, so the ones we do have hurt.”

State Rep. Sarah Buxton, D-Tunbridge, said she was frying an egg downstairs when she heard a crash that sounded like a thunder clap.

Nothing good could have just happened, she thought.

She glanced at her cellphone. It was 12:02 a.m.

Minutes before, Buxton had gone downstairs because she hadn’t been able to sleep and opened the screen door and front windows of her Tunbridge home for fresh air.

She rushed out the door to investigate the noise.

Outside, she saw Walters’ car smashed into the bridge that spanned the junction of Route 110 and Strafford Road. Shards of glass lay on the road and smoke drifted from the wreck. As Buxton ran to the car, a neighbor called 911.

The car’s passenger side window was open, Buxton said. She stuck her head inside and saw Walters slumped in the front seat.

He was unconscious, she said, but alive. She noticed that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. “Hang in there,” she called through the window to Walters.

When the sheriff’s department arrived they had to pry the driver’s door open, Buxton said.

Buxton said she never heard braking tires squeal on pavement before the accident, just the sound of the collision.

“It’s terribly sad,” she said, “and terribly tragic.”

Attempts to reach Walters’ family yesterday were unsuccessful.

Zack Peterson can be reached at 603-727-3211 or zpeterson@vnews.com.