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Several people injured as driver tries to avoid bear in the road

AFTER THE CRASH Sunday evening, Aug. 14, Ossipee firemen work to free Sandra Peoples from her crushed Land Rover, first cutting off the top of it then cutting away the driver’s door and post. Peoples’ car was struck by a Lincoln Town Car that had swerved to avoid hitting a bear in the road that had just been killed by another car. (Mellisa Seamons photo) (click for larger version)
August 18, 2011
OSSIPEE— Two people were transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine after a violent crash on Route 16 in Center Ossipee Sunday night.

According to police, Heather Cyr of Madison was driving her Honda sport utility vehicle north in the area of mile marker 55.8 when she hit a bear. James Iannuzzi, 44, from Boston was traveling south and apparently tried to avoid the bear, swerved, and crossed into the northbound path of Sandra Peoples, 50, of Conway.

Iannuzzi's 1997 Lincoln Town Car and Peoples' 2006 Land Rover collided nearly head-on, sending Peoples' vehicle into the embankment.

The emergency call initially came in at 10:40 p.m. as four vehicles with possibly 10 patients. It turned out to be eight patients in three vehicles. Help from several agencies including the fire departments of Center Ossipee, West Ossipee, Madison, Conway, and Tamworth; police from Ossipee, NH State Police, and Carroll County Sheriff's Department; and ambulances from Ossipee Valley EMS, North Conway Ambulance and Stewart's.

Dozens of emergency workers converged on the scene to help with traffic and the investigation, treating the patients, getting patients to the hospital and cleaning up the debris field of car parts strewn along the highway.

Firefighters worked for nearly an hour and a half to get Peoples out of her vehicle, first cutting off the top of it then cutting away the driver's door and post. She was finally freed from the wreckage at 12:06 a.m. and taken to the hospital. As of press time, Peoples and her passengers, a 15-year-old, 16-year-old, and 11-year-old were all believed to be in stable condition at area hospitals.

Iannuzzi and his passenger, Brian Berglund, 44, of Winthrop, Mass. were transferred to Maine Medical Center and were reportedly in critical condition, undergoing surgery for multiple injuries. Iannuzzi's other passenger, Jonathan Harker, 34, of Boston, Mass. was taken to Memorial Hospital and believed to be in stable condition.

Cyr was apparently uninjured and was taken from the scene by her husband.

A section of Route 16, between the southern entrance to Route 16B at Pine River Road and the northern entrance of Route 16B at Indian Mound Golf Course, was closed for about five hours .The accident remains under investigation; however, according to police, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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