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August 20. 2013 10:11PM

No bail change for man charged in newlywed crash

DOVER — A Somersworth man charged with killing a bride and injuring her husband in an alcohol-related accident in Rollinsford last month will remain in jail on $75,000 cash only bail.

Matthew Tsopas, 43, of 24 Blackwater Road in Somersworth, faces two counts of negligent homicide, aggravated driving while intoxicated and two counts of conduct after an accident stemming from a crash along Route 4 on July 20.

On July 24, Tsopas entered no plea to the five felonies and was transferred from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital to Strafford County Jail. Later in the month, bail was reduced from $250,000 to $75,000 cash.

After Tsopas asked the court to allow him to use surety to be released from custody, the judge decided against changing bail following a bail review hearing Tuesday morning, according to Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi.

"I've consistently argued he (Tsopas) was a flight risk based on the actions after the accident," Velardi said, referring to how Tsopas allegedly fled the scene and took off his clothes following the fatal crash.

Velardi said the state feels Tsopas was "uncontrollable" and would be difficult to monitor if released on bail.

He said Timothy Harrington, who represents Tsopas, argued he was not a flight risk as Tsopas has family in the area and has no previous criminal record. Harrington could not be reached for comment.

While the case has been bound over to Superior Court since Tsopas waived his probable cause hearing in district court last month, Velardi said the matter has not been brought forward to a grand jury yet.

Velardi said New Hampshire State Police investigators continue to actively collect and process evidence. He added he did not know when Tsopas could be indicted or what charges he could face, a process which is based on the facts.

Investigators believe an Infiniti G35, driven by Tsopas, struck a Kia Spectra, driven by a honeymooning couple from Minnesota. As a result, Leah Fonda Preiss sustained fatal injuries while Brian Preiss was eventually transported to a Massachusetts hospital for head, wrist and internal injuries.

At the time of the crash, the couple had been married for nine days.

Police believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash and investigators were looking into whether Tsopas allegedly crashed into several vehicles at the American Legion Post in Rollinsford prior to the fatal accident.

jquinn@newstote.com


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