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No charges yet in crash that killed Allenstown teacher

ALLENSTOWN — State Police continue to investigate last week’s accident that took the life of a former Concord High School teacher, and the trooper in charge of the case said charges may be forthcoming against the other driver, who was allegedly distracted at the time of the crash.

Trooper First Class Michael Pelletier said Wednesday that 22-year-old Jordan Heath of Concord, the operator of the 2007 Ford Focus that reportedly ran through a red light and struck and killed 66-year-old Michael Phelps, who was riding a 2005 Honda VTX motorcycle, admitted to officers at the scene that she was distracted at the time of the June 30 collision.

Pelletier said he couldn’t reveal the exact nature of the distraction, citing the ongoing investigation, but said he is working to corroborate evidence with Heath’s statement.

“It’s something we’re looking into at this point, but right now it’s a little too early in the process to tell which direction this is going to go,” said Pelletier.

Once the investigation concludes, Pelletier said the case will be passed to the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office to determine which, if any, charges will be brought against Heath.

A charge of negligent homicide is possible if evidence points to distracted driving, he said.

“If that is what we’re looking at, and we’ve confirmed that, charges would be forthcoming,” said Pelletier. “But at this point, we’re still exploring a number of avenues in this investigation.”

Meanwhile, Phelps’ former colleagues at Concord High School are mourning the loss of a man that CHS Principal Gene Connolly described as an extremely talented English teacher.

“His personality was bigger than life,” said Connolly. “He just had a wonderful way with kids.”

Connolly said he and several other administrators and teachers had kept in touch with Phelps since he retired in 2004. Phelps had worked at Rundlett Middle School before teaching and coaching track and field and football at CHS for the last eight years of his career.

“We’re all deeply saddened by what happened,” he said.

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