Nashua man charged as Army deserter after Merrimack crash

MERRIMACK – State police investigating a three-car accident on the Everett Turnpike Wednesday evening ended up arresting one of the drivers for negligent driving – and then for allegedly deserting the U.S. Army.

Nashua resident Jeremy Bakaian, 29, was charged with being a fugitive from justice following the crash, which happened just after 5 p.m. in the northbound lane of the Everett Turnpike just past Exit 10 in Merrimack, according to police.

The negligent driving charge was leveled against Bakaian stems from allegations he caused the accident by failing to stop for traffic, police said.

They said the vehicle Bakaian was driving struck one vehicle “with a high degree of force,” then continued on and slammed into a second vehicle.

The impact pushed the first vehicle into the middle lane of the turnpike, police added.

Police didn’t identify the other two drivers, and described the injuries as minor.

Other motorists told police that northbound traffic had come to a stop when the vehicle driven by Bakaian didn’t stop and struck the vehicles.

Trooper Christopher Cummings, who responded from the Troop B barracks in Bedford to investigate the crash, discovered during his investigation that Bakaian was wanted by the United States Army for desertion, according to police.

Cummings placed Bakaian under arrest, police said, charging him with fugitive from justice and negligent driving.

Bakaian was held without bail pending arraignment, which was scheduled for Thursday morning in Merrimack district court.

Police had to close the northbound lanes for about 30 minutes while the vehicles were towed from the scene.

According to Telegraph archives, Merrimack police arrested Bakaian in January 2011 on a similar charge of desertion. Bakaian, who was living in Merrimack at the time, had reportedly taken a leave in 2007 and didn’t return, according to the Telegraph story.

After staying in Texas for six months, Bakaian returned to Merrimack in 2008, all the while battling the emotional demons that had haunted him since his 12-month tour in Iraq.

Although he received two Purple Hearts, according to the story, his Army superiors ignored his repeated requests for help to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by his time in Iraq.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443, dshalhoup@nashua or @Telegraph_DeanS.