Alleged texting and driving leads to crash

COURTESY PHOTO A car driven by a 17-year-old Londonderry resident crashed into a gas pump at Hudson Mobile Mart Sunday evening, causing the pump to topple onto another vehicle in background. No injureis were reported.

HUDSON – Police said distracted driving appears to be the cause of the Sunday night crash on Derry Street, in which a car driven by a Londonderry teenager left the road, entered a gas station parking lot and slammed into a gas pump.

Quick thinking by the attendant on duty at Hudson Mobile Mart thwarted the threat of a major gas spill, and the potential for an explosion or fire, when he “quickly engaged the emergency shutoff switch,” according to police.

Ashleigh Dahlstrom, 17, was wearing a seat belt and was uninjured, but was issued a citation for use of an electronic mobile device, the title of the state statute known as the “hands-free law” or the “distracted driving law.”

Police, firefighters and medical personnel were called at about 8 p.m. Sunday to the Mobile Mart, 82 Derry St., after callers reported a crash involving two vehicles and a gas pump.

Crews arrived to find the gas pump had been dislodged from its foundation, and was resting atop a 2018 Lincoln MKC. Dahlstrom’s car, a 2012 Nissan Versa, came to rest against the raised island from which the pump was dislodged.

Chunks of snow and ice, which Dahlstrom’s vehicle likely picked up when it plowed through a snowbank before striking the pump, were strewn about the scene.

Police said an on-scene investigation determined Dahlstrom was driving north on Derry Street, and when she reached the area of the 102 Plaza, her vehicle drifted into the southbound lane.

The car then left the paved portion of the southbound lane, which police said, “caused Dahlstrom to strike the business sign” for the TD Bank branch next door to the Mobile Mart.

The car then went through the snowbank, police said, and into the Mobile Mart parking lot. The driver of the Lincoln, apparently in the process of fueling the vehicle, wasn’t injured.

Hudson police Sgt. Michael Niven said Monday the charge of Use of an Electronic Mobile Device is a violation-level offense, the fine for which the recipient can pay by mail, without the need to appear in court.

Niven said police could have cited Dahlstrom for negligent driving instead of electronic-device use, but it’s also a violation-level offense that would likely carry the same fine.

He said whether Dahlstrom, or her insurance carrier, could be held liable for the damage to the gas station is a civil matter between the parties.