Saturday, May 26, 2012

Settlement reached in fatal Winchester crash

A civil settlement in a fatal motor vehicle crash last year in Winchester moved forward in court this week, while a criminal trial stemming from the crash is expected to start in September.

In April 2011, 17-year-old Kelsey E. Hopkinson and her friend, 21-year-old Melissa A. LaBrake, both of Keene, died in a head-on collision on Route 10.
LaBrake’s then-20-month-old daughter, Emma M. LaBrake, and another passenger in the car, 22-year-old Heather McCormack of Winchester, survived the crash with serious injuries.

James R. Couch 3rd, 40, of Swanzey, who was driving the other vehicle involved, was also injured and survived.

Police said an investigation led them to believe Couch was suffering from a medical condition when he crossed the center line, colliding with the car driven by Hopkinson.

Couch’s insurance company has agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement to be divided among the Hopkinson and LaBrake families and McCormack, and a hearing Wednesday in Cheshire County Superior Court was required to finalize the details, according to court documents filed in the civil case.
Emma LaBrake, who suffered a cut on her forehead and a spleen injury in the crash, now lives with her grandparents, court documents showed.

Couch was indicted and pleaded not guilty in superior court to two counts of negligent homicide. A pretrial hearing is scheduled in August, with a trial tentatively slated for September, according to court documents filed in the criminal case.

The trial was delayed last month after attorneys for Couch filed a request for prosecutors to provide more information about the basis of the indictments, which claim Couch was negligent based on speed and crossing the center line. Couch was suffering from a diabetic condition at the time of the crash, court documents show.

By Sentinel Staff


Mad as Hell! said...

I person that is going over 100mph and kills someone reguardless if he has medical problems or not should be fried.

Anonymous said...

the speed was due to the medical condition, not reckless driving. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and all involved.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter that it was a medical condition. He should've flagged someone down instead of getting in his car and killing people. I personally knew Kelsey, and Kelsey's best friend was with me when this happened. He needed to pay for what he did to Kelsey, Melissa, Heather, Emma, and their friends and family. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I agree this is heather the girl who survived the crash I'm still struggling with it day by day and some days are harder then others yes I'm getting over it day by day and be strong for my daughter it on miracle that she's here today