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Police to apply for grant for series of seatbelt patrols

DERRY — Derry police will be participating in a campaign to encourage young people to wear their seatbelts.

During the town council’s Tuesday night meeting, Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas talked about a recent fatal crash in town involving teenagers while urging councilors to support the department’s pursuit of a grant that would pay for specialized police patrols.

Councilors voted, 5-2, to allow the town to apply for the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency grant, which will provide up to $2,574 to fund patrols from May 12 to May 26, Thomas said.

The seatbelt enforcement campaign grant is part of a statewide effort called “Join the New Hampshire Clique.”

“This grant is to encourage young people to wear their seatbelts,” Thomas said.

According to New Hampshire law, children 7 to 17 years old must wear a seatbelt.

Children under 7 must ride in a safety seat or booster.

Pinkerton Academy student Kyle Ross, 17, died from injuries he suffered in a New Year’s Eve crash. Ross was driving when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree at a high rate of speed at Gulf Road and Hampshire Drive, according to police.

Passenger Johanna Morse, 16, of Derry, is recovering from severe injuries, and a third Pinkerton student, Thompson Upham-Davis, 16, of Chester, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police.

The grant will support six, six-hour patrols in areas where there are a number of young drivers, such as at Pinkerton Academy, Thomas said.

Newly sworn-in Councilor David Fischer said he favored having the town apply for the grant after listening to Thomas’s presentation.

“To me, anything I can do to promote the safety of our community makes a lot of sense,” Fischer said.

Council Chairman Mark Osborne and Councilor Al Dimmock voted against the grant application.


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