Sep. 25—This week was a harrowing deja vu for those who remember East Kingston police Officer Mel Keddy, who was killed by a drunk driver on Route 125 while working at a crash scene in 1995.
Wednesday, just a few hundred feet from where Keddy was hit, retired Hudson police Sgt. Donna Briggs, 59, was found dead down an embankment.
Investigators say Briggs was hit from behind while riding her bike in preparation for the upcoming 300-mile Police Unity Tour. The event raises money and awareness for fallen law enforcement officers.
State and local police say they worked around the clock to find the driver, leading to the arrest of Dover resident Craig Sprowl, 45, Friday morning.
Court records show that he's charged with negligent homicide and conduct after an accident. He is being held without bail pending trial.
His wife, Angela Sprowl, was arrested alongside him at a Motel 6 in Portsmouth, according to state police. She is accused of hindering apprehension by helping Craig hide from law enforcement.
A glimpse into the moments before the fatal crash, as well as Craig Sprowl's extensive criminal history, were revealed during an arraignment Friday afternoon.
According to police complaints, Sprowl was nodding off behind the wheel prior to hitting Briggs.
Public Defender Deanna Campbell said that Sprowl has a history of mental health and substance abuse issues, but neither were involved here.
"He completed drug court a year ago," she said, noting that he suffers from significant damage to his legs and feet due to diabetes, as well as a seizure disorder.
He was working a lot, she said, and "burning the candle at both ends."
He joined Friday's arraignment via phone from a hospital — accompanied by a state trooper — because the jail was unable to meet his medical needs, according to Campbell.
County Attorney Patricia Conway said Sprowl "had to know that he hit someone." She pointed to evidence — a piece of bicycle seat — pulled from the grill of his 2005 GMC Yukon.
After the crash, Sprowl is accused of taking the SUV to a car dealership in Derry called Top Line Motor Sports, where he works.
Investigators say the vehicle was eventually moved to a nearby wooded area, where it was discovered.
Court filings mentioning Craig Sprowl date back to 1993 and include other motor vehicle offenses, criminal allegations, petitions for diviorce from Angela, probation violations, and requests by two women for protection from him.
The week before the fatal crash, Conway said Derry police responded to another incident involving Sprowl. They said he was speeding when he crashed into a tree. He was given a warning and told to slow down, according to Conway.
Hudson police Chief William Avery, a longtime colleague of Briggs, asked that the media to "please respect the family's wishes and privacy during this time of mourning."
He went on to thank his brothers and sisters in law enforcement for their tireless work.
"I know the Briggs family greatly appreciates this effort," Avery said.
Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs, not related to the deceased, said he found himself on the familiar stretch of road responding to Donna's death.
It's also the last place he was alongside Keddy — 26 years ago.
"He was assisting me that night," Briggs said. "I'm aware of how dangerous it can get."
Donna Briggs' obituary states that she is survived by her husband, Travis, three sons, a daughter, two grandchildren and siblings.