MANCHESTER — No criminal charges will be brought against the Bedford driver who struck a highway sound barrier last year — killing 19-year-old Andrew Roy — because the evidence does not support it, the county attorney said Thursday.
It appears Ian Bolser, then 19, fell asleep at the wheel July 28, 2012, when his car veered on the exit ramp of Interstate 293 in Manchester and struck the barrier, Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia M. LaFrance said in announcing her office's decision not to prosecute Bolser.
Roy, also of Bedford, was killed instantly. Bolser, who was injured in the collision, was driving Roy's Mitsubishi Lancer back from Hampton Beach when the car struck the wooden barrier and rolled over about 6:45 a.m.
"We understand there is a strong desire for someone to be held criminally responsible when a life is lost," LaFrance said. "As prosecutors, we must look at the evidence critically and not allow our own emotions to dictate whether a crime was committed."
LaFrance said there was not enough evidence to determine if speed or impairment were factors in the collision. Rather, it appears Bolser's fatigue and drowsiness was "a significant factor."
"In this particular case, he is just a kind of normal kid driving home. Should he have done it? Probably he should have got some sleep. But it doesn't rise to the actions of being negligent," LaFrance said.
Had Bolser been a professional truck driver who didn't take required rest breaks, he would have faced added culpability, LaFrance said.
Bolser, now 20, did not return a call for comment Thursday.
But in August 2012, he told the New Hampshire Sunday News: "Andrew's been my best friend since we were about 13 years old."
Roy's mother, Lisa, had no comment on the ruling when reached by telephone Thursday. She also had no comment on whether she intended to pursue a civil complaint.
Unlike criminal charges, which require the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, plaintiffs must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence — a lower standard — to prevail in a civil complaint.
In July, Lisa Roy told the New Hampshire Sunday News that every day since her son's death has been a struggle.
"I can't imagine this is now my forever," she said. "Every piece of my broken heart hurts and misses him till we meet again."
Last year's fatal collision was the second crash in which Bolser was involved within two months — though he was not charged in the June 10, 2012, accident in which he lost control of his car as he pulled onto I-293 southbound at Exit 4. There were no reports of injuries in that crash, state police said.
Last Sept. 19, Bolser lost his driver's license for 60 days after pleading guilty in Hooksett District Court to speeding and transportation of a controlled drug.
He also was fined $500. A third charge, possession of a controlled drug, was dropped, according to the court.
The decision not to prosecute Bolser in the fatal collision came after considerable review, including a ruling by the state Attorney General's Office that the county attorney's decision not to bring criminal charges was within "our prosecutorial discretion," LaFrance said. LaFrance said her office received word from the attorney general in a Sept. 4 letter.
The case was investigated by New Hampshire State Police, which turned its investigation over to the county attorney's office.