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Driver was trying to kill himself

Union Leader Correspondent

December 11. 2013 10:58PM

LEBANON — A failed suicide attempt by a Sunapee man claimed the lives of a young couple and their unborn child in a crash on Interstate 89, according to Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell.

Robert Dellinger, 53, of 28 Birch Point Lane in Sunapee, is facing two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Amanda Murphy, 24, and her fiance, Jason Timmons, 29. Though Murphy was eight months pregnant, Dellinger is not facing charges in the death of her unborn child because the state's homicide laws don't account for unborn children, Morrell said.

According to Morrell, Dellinger left his home on Saturday afternoon after having an argument with his wife over his depression medication and a bedtime curfew imposed by his doctor, and headed south on I-89 in his 2005 Chevy pick-up.

In an attempt to commit suicide, Morrell said, Dellinger drove to a spot in the highway where the median had a slight rise and no guardrails. He crossed into the median, went airborne into the northbound side of I-89 and sheered the roof off a car driven by Murphy. Dellinger's truck hit a sign post before coming to rest on the side of the road. Murphy and Timmons died of blunt-force trauma, Morrell said. Dellinger suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Morrell said that while he was being interviewed by police at the hospital, Dellinger said of the crash, "I obviously caused this."

After his release from the hospital Tuesday, Dellinger was arrested and charged with two counts of manslaughter. Via video from Grafton County jail on Wednesday afternoon, Dellinger waived arraignment. During the bail hearing that immediately followed, Morrell argued that Dellinger, whom she said has considerable financial resources from his work as an executive at major corporations, should be held on $250,000 cash bail. She noted Dellinger had already given his attorney $250,000 to cover bail should it not be reduced by the court. Morrell also asked that Dellinger be ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device to track his whereabouts, give up his driver's license and passport, and undergo a mental health evaluation.

According to Forbes, Dellinger served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for PPG Industries until 2011, when he resigned due to health reasons. Dellinger was also an executive at other major corporations, including Delphi and Sprint.

"Money alone is not going to secure his appearance at trial," said Morrell, and added that Dellinger was a danger to himself and to others.

"He could have chosen many other ways to kill himself without putting anyone else in danger," she said.

Dellinger's attorney, Peter Decato, asked that his client's bail be lowered to $100,000 cash. Decato also asked that Dellinger be allowed to travel to his property in Kansas, where he was receiving medical and psychological treatment.

"It's clear that Mr. Dellinger has lived an exemplary life," said Decato. "$100,000 is sufficient to ensure that Mr. Dellinger appear at all future court proceedings. There's no magic in the $250,000."

Judge Albert Cirone ordered bail set at $200,000, and agreed with Morrell's recommended conditions that Dellinger wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Cirone also prohibited Dellinger from traveling outside New Hampshire and ordered that he not drive.

Dellinger will face a probable cause hearing on Dec. 19 at Lebanon District Court.

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