KITTERY, Maine — The 21-year-old driver of a Kittery Community Center van that crashed on Interstate 95 Friday has an extensive record of driving violations, including two convictions of driving to endanger, according to state records.
The town of Kittery has launched an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash in Greenland that sent 13 people to the hospital, including 11 children under the age of 10. New Hampshire state police say the driver, John Guy, of Kittery, may have suffered a medical emergency that caused the accident.
Guy has since been released from the hospital and placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral said Sunday.
The crash happened around 9:20 a.m. Friday, when the large van carrying 11 juveniles and two staff members left the interstate and struck a tree head-on, state police said. All 13 occupants were transported from the scene to either Exeter Hospital or Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
Later in the day, one juvenile was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital with what police called “life-threatening injuries,” but Amaral said Sunday that situation has changed for the better.
“Our staff has been in contact with the family and we understand she sustained injuries but she will be OK,” Amaral said of the juvenile. All patients have now been released from area hospitals, she said.
The crash involved the Kittery Community Center’s SAFE program van, which was headed to a day trip at Candia Springs Adventure Park.
According to Maine state driving records, Guy has a lengthy list of violations, including a driving to endanger conviction less than one month after his license was issued in 2013, and a second as recently as Aug. 2016. Other driving convictions include three instances of operating after suspension, two instances of failure to display valid inspection sticker and two speeding violations in 2013 and 2015. The convictions took place through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Guy's name appeared in South Portland, Maine police logs in Jan. 2018 and Nov. 2017 for charges alleging violating conditions of release. Details of those arrests were not available Sunday.
According to driving records, Guy has an active Class A commercial driver's license, which would allow him to drive a van such as the one used by Kittery Community Center.
Guy did not respond to a request for comment before Sunday's night deadline. Amaral confirmed his father, Leo Guy, previously served as a town councilor for the town of Kittery.
Amaral said she has consented for New Hampshire state police to download the “black box” of information from the 2010 GMC Savana transport van to gain additional details from the time of the crash.
She noted the town's investigation will look into what took place during the hiring process at the Kittery Community Center.
“We’re going to look at everything from the hiring process through the assignment of the driver for that day, and incorporate what we get from New Hampshire state police into what happened in the vehicle at the time of the crash,” Amaral said. She could not comment further on the medical emergency Guy experienced, and state police have also declined to elaborate at this time.
Amaral said Guy is a seasonal employee who works directly for the Kittery Community Center, which is a town department.
“I am planning to review as much of the records as I can possibly get my hands on tomorrow, and starting to piece together an understanding to the circumstances that led to that crash,” Amaral said. “My goal is to get as much of the facts assembled as quickly as possible. I understand the community deserves answers.”
Amaral said the staff of the Kittery Community Center are “doing their best to work through this,” and are not used to the incoming media requests following the crash. Yet they remain helpful to everyone who walks through the doors, she said.
“Our program supervisors, counselors and the office staff are shaken by this,” she said.
All transportation for field trips for the remainder of the summer programs will be provided by the town’s contractors MSAD 35, Amaral said. In addition, there will be guidance counselors on hand Monday morning to assist children and parents.
“Kittery is a strong community that supports each other through difficult times, and this is no doubt a difficult time,” she said.
State police could not reached for comment Sunday, but on Friday, said all aspects of the crash remained under investigation.
Police ask anyone who has information or who witnessed the crash to contact Trooper Andrew Wilensky at (603) 223-8715 or Andrew.Wilensky@dos.nh.gov