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Jaffrey-Rindge

Youth critically injured in fall

Car accident in RMS parking lot

The parking lot at the Rindge Memorial School was the site of Friday night's accident that sent two youths to the hospital.

Courtesy photo

The parking lot at the Rindge Memorial School was the site of Friday night's accident that sent two youths to the hospital. Courtesy photo Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

RINDGE — A 14-year-old Rindge youth is expected to make a full recovery after sustaining critical injuries Friday night when she fell off of the hood of a car she was riding on in the parking lot of Rindge Memorial School, according to Police Chief Frank Morrill.

Justin Haase, 16, of Jaffrey was driving a 1995 Saturn in the elementary school parking lot at a slow-rate of speed at approximately 11 p.m. Friday, said Morrill in an interview Tuesday. When Haase turned a corner in the parking lot, the 14-year-old Rindge resident and a 15-year-old Jaffrey youth, who was also riding on the car’s hood, were ejected off of the vehicle and onto the pavement, Morrill said.

Emergency personnel had planned to transport the 14-year-old to Mondanock Community Hospital in Peterborough for treatment of her injuries, but while en route they called for a helicopter to lifeflight the victim from Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., Morrill said.

As of Tuesday evening, Morrill said the 14-year-old had been released from the hospital and was resting at home. The girl sustained a skull fracture, concussion and is suffering from severe neck sprain, he said.

The 15-year-old, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries, refused medical transport and was instead driven to MCH by a parent, Morrill said. The youth was treated and later released.

The two girls, who police declined to name, were outside the school with approximately six other teenagers, all of whom where hanging out in the school parking lot late Friday night, Morrill said. Police responded to the Rindge Memorial School after receiving a 911 call made from a cell phone at that location at about 11 p.m.

The accident remains under investigation, but Morrill said criminal charges aren’t likely.

“This was a group of youths exercising poor judgement. Does it rise to the level of criminal charges? At this point, I don’t believe so,” Morrill said. “More than likely, we’ll be looking at potential violation charges for reckless operation of a motor vehicle, whereby a suspension of license would be appropriate.”

At this stage of the investigation, Morrill said it is unclear exactly how fast Haase was driving the Saturn. “But it was not being driven in a manner that would trigger felony charges,” he said, explaining that Haase was not doing donuts in the parking lot.

Rindge Memorial School is not a typical hangout spot for youth in town, Morrill said, noting that police discourage anyone from hanging out on school grounds after hours.

Wednesday, Jaffrey-Rindge School District Supt. Jim O’Neill would not comment on whether or not the district is considering disciplinary action as a result of Friday’s accident. District-wide policy states that students are not to be on school grounds after dark unless there is a school sponsored event, and/or if they have adult supervision, according to O’Neill.

“It’s very difficult to enforce our after-hours policy,” O’Neill said. “We want to encourage public access to our facilities, but that is somewhat rubbing up against the issue of supervision.”

While video cameras are installed on school grounds, O’Neill said it’s unlikely any of them would have captured the accident, or done so with any clarity.

The school district is offering counseling to the friends and family of those impacted by the accident.

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