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Police probe Dover official's fatal car crash

Union Leader Correspondent

December 04. 2013 10:33PM

Dover City Councilor Michael Weeden. 

DOVER — It could take months to determine whether City Councilor Michael Weeden may be charged in a head-on collision which led to the death of a Somersworth man.

Martin J. Carignan, 87, of 22 Tates Brook Road, was pronounced dead Tuesday at 3:10 p.m. in Massachusetts General Hospital — a day after the crash near Weeden's home on Sixth Street.

Police said Weeden was attempting to buckle his seatbelt when his red Chrysler 300 veered into the oncoming lane and struck Carignan's 2008 silver Chevrolet Aveo.

Police Capt. Bill Breault said in fatal crashes it typically takes several weeks to determine what factors contributed.

"Part of that process will be to rule out possible causes such as speed, driver impairment, driver distraction, weather conditions, road conditions and lighting, to name a few," Breault said in an e-mail.

Once the investigation is complete, Breault said the matter will be turned over to the Strafford County Attorney's Office, which "will determine what if any charges will be filled."

Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi said it is much too early to make a determination. He said every case is different and not all accidents result in charges or convictions.

Velardi said this case will receive the same amount of attention and diligence as any other.

"It's another collision and we have to determine whether there are any criminal aspects of the case," Velardi said.

Investigators must wait for the results of Carignan's autopsy to determine whether any medical issues were involved, he said.

Weeden suffered minor injuries in the crash. Carignan was sent to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover before being transferred to the Boston hospital Tuesday for serious head injuries.

The northbound lane of Sixth Street was closed for approximately one hour while police, firefighters and emergency personnel assisted the two drivers. Both vehicles were seriously damaged, according to Breault.

Weeden, who served as a state representative from 2010-2012, lost his bid for reelection to the city council in November. His term ends Dec. 31. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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