Conservation Officer Levi Frye
September 13, 2021
Berlin and Gorham, NH – On Saturday September 11, 2021, NH Fish and Game responded to three separate ATV and UTV rollovers in the course of three hours. Two crashes occurred in Jericho State Park in Berlin and the final one occurred on the Presidential Rail Trail in Gorham.
The first incident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Brook Road in Jericho State Park. Michael Ryan, 31 of Gloucester, MA, was operating his rental ATV on Brook Road, second in a group of three rental machines. He came around a downhill corner on Brook Road and hit his brakes, causing him to lose control of his machine, which rolled over and pinned him against the ground.
After a 911 call was placed, an emergency response was initiated by Berlin Fire and EMS and NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers. Upon evaluating his injuries, first responders determined that Ryan needed more urgent immediate care, and so a call to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) helicopter was placed. They responded to pick up Ryan at Androscoggin Valley Hospital after he was transported there by Berlin Ambulance. He was transported by DHART helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon with serious injuries.
After interviewing the riding party and Ryan himself, unreasonable speed and inexperience are considered the primary factors in the crash. Ryan admitted to officers that he had been operating too quickly before he crashed.
The second crash that Fish and Game responded to occurred around 2:00 p.m. on Moose Road in Jericho State Park. Nicole Levesque, 36, of Milton, NH, was following another ATV when according to witnesses and evidence at the scene, she got the wheels of her ATV caught in a rut in the trails which caused her to get pushed into a ditch where the machine rolled over onto her causing a severe injury. Another ATV operator from a different party found Levesque and called 911.
An emergency response consisting of Berlin Fire and EMS and a Conservation Officer was initiated. After evaluation of Levesque’s injuries, it was determined that once again, they would need to get her to more immediate urgent care, so responders requested that the DHART helicopter respond. Levesque was transported from the scene to Androscoggin Valley Hospital by Berlin Ambulance, where she was picked up by the DHART helicopter for transport to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Investigators consider operator inexperience to be the primary cause of this crash.
Upon clearing the previous crash scene, the Conservation Officer was immediately notified of another ATV rollover, this time on the Presidential Rail Trail in Gorham. Gorham Fire and Rescue and the Conservation Officer rushed to the scene to assist the patient, identified as Henry Sanschagrin, 74, of Gorham, NH.
It was determined that Sanschagrin was operating his UTV on the rail trail and decided to pull off the side of the trail to let another ATV pass. While doing this he accidentally pulled too far to the right which caused his UTV to roll over down an embankment.
Oncoming ATVs stopped to assist Sanschagrin and his wife, who was in the passenger seat, and called 911. Sanschagrin and his wife were transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital for evaluation for any injuries by Gorham Fire and Rescue. It is believed that operator inattention is the cause of this crash.
The final crash of the day occurred on Farr Road in Pittsburg when an ATV operator identified as Karen Lane, 59, of Jaffrey, NH, rolled her ATV over, reportedly to prevent hitting a gate. Due to the fact that there were three other ATV crashes, plus a search and rescue mission going on and only 3 Conservation Officers on duty in Coos County, they did not respond to this crash. Pittsburg PD assisted by covering this crash. Lane was transported to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook, where DHART was called to transport the patient. Speed and inattention are the contributing factors in this crash.
Investigators do not consider alcohol or drug intoxication a factor in any of these crashes. NH Fish and Game would like to remind drivers to always operate within their limits and obey all posted speed limits and slow down while enjoying New Hampshire’s numerous ATV trails.