CONWAY — Police on Wednesday released the name of the driver of the pickup that reportedly struck two pedestrians in North Conway Village on Monday morning. Violation-level charges have been filed, but more might be coming as the investigation unfolds, the police chief said.
The incident occurred on White Mountain Highway near Valley Food and Beverage at about 11 a.m. Monday. Conway police responded, along with North Conway Fire and Rescue and Action Ambulance.
Conway Police Chief Chris Mattei issued a press release Monday that said officers found a yellow 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche, operated by a driver from Buxton, Maine, had struck two pedestrians who were crossing the street in front of International Mountain Equipment, located at 2733 White Mountain Highway in North Conway.
He said the driver was making a left turn out of the parking lot of Valley Food and Beverage when the collision occurred.
“The two pedestrians, identified to be a male and female couple from Rehoboth, Mass., were utilizing the crosswalk when they were struck by the pickup,” Mattei said.
The couple as well as the driver were taken to Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
On Wednesday, Mattei identified the driver as Christopher Churchill, age 51. Churchill, he said, was charged with violation-level “Operating After Suspension or Revocation” and violation-level “Pedestrian in the Right of Way in a Crosswalk.”
“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Mattei. “Additional charges may follow.”
Churchill’s prior offense, leading to the driving after revocation or suspension charge, happened in Maine.
The operating after suspension charge carries a fine of $250 for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses, according to the state website.
The fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk is $140, said Mattei.
Mattei told the Sun that Churchill, “did not see the pedestrians in the crosswalk as he was pulling out onto Route 16.”
Bill Kittredge, who owns the nearby House of Jerky and North Conway Olive Oil, said he was in his office and heard a “bang” and basically saw the man who was hit fall to the ground.
Kittredge described the couple who were hit as being about retirement age. He gave security video of the crash to police.
Mattei didn’t disclose the names of the pedestrians Wednesday but said he could say they “sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Churchill was released and given a July 12 court date in Circuit Court.
Prior to the incident, another local shopkeeper, Darlene Trafford Leavitt, manager of Synergy, an apparel store located at 2706 White Mountain Highway, had complained that nearby crosswalks in the village were unsafe.
She talked of circulating a petition to call on the state and town to create flashing signs at crosswalks, including the one where the Rehoboth couple was hit. “Most towns have the yellow signs on the side that say it’s a crosswalk. We don’t even have that. And by the time summer is halfway done, the white lines are almost off the road,” Leavitt said in January.
Since then a sign on the west side of the street has been installed that shows a stick pedestrian stick figure and an arrow. The crosswalks were also recently repainted as part of scheduled maintenance, according to Town Engineer Paul DeliAngeli.
Anyone who may have witnessed Monday’s collision between the pickup and the pedestrians is asked to call Conway Police Detective Richard Gaudreau at (603) 356-5715.