Press Statement by Major Jeffrey
Gray, Acting Chief of Law Enforcement
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
March 5, 2003
Early this morning, Conservation Officers from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department arrested Denis Lancey, age 29, of Berlin, New Hampshire in connection with the hit-and-run snowmobile accident that occurred on February 15th of this year.
The collision involved a dogsled musher, Mr. Stephen Hessert of Cumberland, Maine, who was training his team of sled dogs on a multi-use trail located in Success, New Hampshire. At the time of the incident, Mr. Hessert was struck from behind and seriously injured by a snowmachine operator who subsequently fled the scene.
Denis Lancey has been charged with a Class B felony for "conduct after an accident." Following his arrest and fingerprinting at the Berlin Police Department, Mr. Lancey was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail. A formal indictment on the felony charge will be sought at the next Grand Jury session scheduled at the Coos County Superior Court for later this month. Coos County Attorney, Pierre Morin, will be handling prosecution of the case.
This arrest is the result of an intensive investigation conducted by Fish and Game Conservation Officers, the City of Berlin Police Department and the New Hampshire State Police. During the course of the investigation, several individuals came forward with pertinent information that helped lead officers to Mr. Lancey. Items of evidence seized in conjunction with the investigation are currently being analyzed at the State Police Forensic Laboratory in Concord and further investigation of the incident is ongoing at this time.
I would like to stress that this was an isolated incident, and to the best of my knowledge, the first time in the history of New Hampshire snowmobiling that our agency has been required to investigate a personal injury hit-and-run snowmobile collision of this nature. The circumstances of this collision appear to have been completely preventable and the subsequent actions of the snowmachine operator are extremely difficult to comprehend by all the responsible snowmobile enthusiasts who actively enjoy this outdoor recreation in New Hampshire.
With regard to the victim in this incident, Stephen Hessert continues to make remarkable progress in terms of his recovery from very substantial and serious injuries he received to both his legs. It is my understanding that Mr. Hessert is slated to be discharged from the hospital sometime today. Mr. Hessert and his doctors are very optimistic that after extensive rehabilitation and therapy he may be back on his feet as early as late July or early August.
In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Hessert's law firm partners at Norman, Hanson and DeTroy in Portland, Maine and the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association for their patience and support with regard to our investigation efforts and for their timely coordination of a reward fund to assist with the apprehension of the individual responsible for this crime.