By Erik Eisele
CONWAY — Sgt. Brian Abrams, longtime New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officer, remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon following a motorcycle accident over the weekend.
The 49-year-old decorated conservation officer suffered a serious head injury in an off-duty accident Sunday afternoon when he lost control of his Harley Davidson, according Fish and Game spokesman Maj. Kevin Jordan. "He's never regained consciousness."
Abrams was in Wolfeboro to watch his daughters at horseback-riding lessons, Jordan said. As he was leaving he lost control of the newly-purchased bike, careening off the road at a bend. "It wasn't a high-speed crash," Jordan said, but Abrams "was not wearing a helmet."
Abrams struck a rock wall, according to Lt. Dean Rondeau, of the Wolfeboro Police Department, but the impact wasn't extreme.
"There was only one rock dislodged," Rondeau said. "I'm at a loss to explain what happened.
The bike went down after drifting into the opposite lane, Rondeau, a technical crash reconstruction specialist, said. It went down on its left side and slid less than 100 feet, which "is like nothing." No one was around to see the accident, he said, but "it was a low-speed crash," with no indication that drugs or alcohol were factors.
Abrams and the bike were found off the pavement 20 feet apart, Rondeau said. He suffered blows to his left leg and the back of the head.
Abrams was transported by ambulance to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, Jordan said, then flown to Maine Medical Center where he immediately underwent surgery.
On Tuesday he remained in critical condition, surrounded by family, Jordan said.
The accident has shocked many who worked with Abrams over his 22 and a half years as a conservation officer.
"It's truly tragic," local guide and Mountain Rescue Service team leader Joe Lentini said. As a Mountain Rescue Service member, Lentini partnered on countless rescues with Abrams. "He was always a positive force," he said, "just solid, an exceptionally nice guy."
Mountain Rescue Service accompanied Abrams in all sorts of conditions, Lentini said — snow, wind, darkness — but it didn't matter. "He was a standup guy. If you were with him you were comfortable."
Conway Village fire chief Steve Solomon pointed to Abrams' dedication. "We would see Brian all the time," he said. "I'm not sure he ever got time off. We'd always see him working."
"The guy was about as good as they get," Mountain Rescue Service president Rick Wilcox said. On over 50 mountain rescues over the years, "he was just the guy you wanted."
"He was the last conservation officer I ever hired," said Henry Mock, former head of Fish and Game's law enforcement division. "It was an excellent decision."
When Abrams in the woods, on the mountains or on the rivers, Mock said, "he wasn't out there to write tickets. He was there to educate."
Abrams shared his passion for conservation with everyone he met, Mock said. He was as close as you get to "perfect, if there is such a thing."