PORTSMOUTH — A car carrying four male teenagers careened into the
entrance of Putnam Ski and Snowboard shop early this morning causing
significant damage to the business and resulting in all of the
occupants being taken to the hospital, say police.
The accident involving the blue Audi SUV occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. this morning.
Police and fire officials responded to the scene, only to find that SUV had struck the front of the building, causing significant damage to its front wooden deck, several glass windows and concrete foundation.
Upon their arrival, first responders discovered four males between 17 and 18 years old trapped inside the SUV. Two of the males were taken to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital, while two others were taken to the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover.
Police say there injuries range from serious to minor.
A preliminary investigation into the crash reveals that alcohol was a factor and police say criminal charges are likely.
Police believe the vehicle was traveling westbound on Lang Road at a high rate of speed when it ran a stop sign at the intersection of Lafayette Road and subsequently struck the building.
Prior to the crash, the SUV appears to have struck a large cedar tree located at the front of the 2998 Lafayette Road property.
Brian Putnam, owner of Putnam Ski and Snowboard Shop, said he found out
about the accident when his alarm company called him shortly after 3
Putnam was on scene early this morning surveying the damage left behind and said he couldn't believe what had happened.
"It blew my mind," he said. "When I got the call I said 'how could a car slam into my building.'"
The longtime shop owner said he believes majority of the damage to his building occurred in the basement, where chunks of the concrete foundation and wooden frame were strewn about.
Putnam said whoever was driving the SUV must've been traveling at a high enough speed to cause the concrete to splinter into several pieces.
"It's phenomenal," he said.
Putnam said he's not sure if he'll be able to open up his store until the building's structure is inspected.
A woman claiming to be a parent of one of the teenagers involved also arrived on scene around 5 a.m. and questioned the police about what hospital her child had been taken to following the crash.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Anybody with information is encouraged to call the Portsmouth Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (603) 431-1199 or (207) 439-1199 or online at www.seacoastcrimestoppers.org