Nashua lawmaker issues apology about driving over ducks
City police are still investigating the incident, which Campbell has described as an accident.
"I am deeply sorry that I accidentally ran over several wild ducks near the Crowne Plaza last Monday night" Campbell said in a statement. "This occurred while some people were feeding the ducks in the roadway nearby. I know it greatly upset them, as it did me. In spite of the accusations to the contrary, this was accidental, unintentional and deeply affected me then and now."
According to Campbell's statement, after he hit the ducks with his vehicle, Campbell said he immediately got out of his car and apologized.
However, Campbell says that one individual, who he later learned was James Murphy, was agitated and confrontational.
"He cursed, continuously yelled and approached me in a threatening manner," Campbell said of Murphy, who was visiting from out of state and ultimately reported the incident to authorities. "After I parked my car, his aggressive behavior and threats continued. To diffuse a situation that was becoming increasingly hostile, I walked across the parking lot to my office building."
Campbell maintains that he has cooperated with police, reported the accident to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and spoke with hotel management.
"Once again, I extend my deepest apology to everyone involved, including the public," said Campbell.
It is still not clear how many ducks were killed or injured in the incident, which has gathered significant attention on social media sites and from various news outlets.
State Rep. Kenneth Gidge, also a Democrat who serves Ward 6 with Campbell, described the publicity surrounding the incident as ridiculous.
"I am astounded. This is so idiotic," Gidge said on Monday. "Someone hits a duck by accident and this is news? He is just so sorry. He is an animal lover for God's sake. It is awful."
Gidge noted that Campbell, a practicing attorney, was the prime sponsor of New Hampshire legislation that now prohibits motorists from driving and texting. Campbell has worked hard to prevent distracted driving in the state, said Gidge, stressing his colleague took appropriate action following the accident.
"I doubt the Republican party will go after (Campbell) because of this. If so, it would be so foolish," said Gidge, adding the Crowne Plaza has had problems in the past with the ducks, prompting the establishment to place signs encouraging visitors not to feed the animals.
Police have not said whether animal cruelty charges could be possible, only that they are investigating the incident.
"This matter has gone viral," state Rep. David Murotake, R-Nashua, said on Monday. "I think that (Campbell) has already received so much negative publicity over what may have been an accident."
Murotake, one of only three Republicans from the 27 House members representing Nashua, said that although the police investigation is likely warranted, it doesn't appear that criminal charges are a possibility.
"He is certainly apologetic. He appears to be sorry," Murotake said of Campbell, who he described as not only a state representative, but a highly respected lawyer and politician who was almost selected as Speaker of the House.
Campbell is currently serving his seventh term in the House, and is chairman of the Capital Budget Overview Committee and the Long Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee.