New Year’s Eve Crash Results in Derry Teen’s Death

A local teenager lost his battle for life this past week, while a friend continued in intensive care after a New Year’s Eve accident.

Kyle Ross, 17, of Hunter Drive, died Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 3 p.m. after being airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on the night of Dec. 31.

Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas said the accident occurred at 11:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve, when the vehicle driven by Ross went off the road and hit a tree on Gulf Road near Hampshire Drive.

A passenger, Johanna Morse, 16, of Hope Hill Road, Derry, was taken to Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston and remained there with head injuries and a serious fracture of hip or leg, according to Thomas.

The third person in the vehicle, Thompson Upham-Davis, 16, of Chester, was treated for minor injuries at Parkland Medical Center in Derry and released, Thomas said.

In a press release, the Derry Fire Department stated that Engine 1, Engine 2, Medic 1, Medic 4 and one car were dispatched to the scene, where they found Ross and Morse entrapped in the vehicle. Upham-Davis was able to walk around. A third medical unit was called to the scene. Fifteen Derry firefighters, the entire shift, responded to the call along with helicopters from DHART (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team) and Boston Medflight.

Fire crews used multiple hydraulic rescue tools, and were able to extricate Ross and Morse within 10 minutes. Once they were extricated, teams of three firefighter-paramedics and two firefighter-Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). were assigned to Ross and Morse.

The press release stated, “This 5:1 level of staffing was required so crews could quickly perform multiple life-saving, advanced life support procedures on each patient.”

Derry firefighters and members of the assisting Salem Fire department closed the intersection of Island Pond Road and Route 111, thus creating a helicopter landing zone. The Londonderry Fire Department provided station coverage. Off-duty Derry firefighters were recalled to their stations.

Thomas said speed was a factor in the crash, which is still under investigation.

Ross was a junior at Pinkerton Academy. Upham-Davis is a junior, Morse a sophomore.

Pinkerton was closed Thursday and Friday due to the snowstorm, but grief counselors were available for students on Saturday. Headmaster Mary Anderson said in a statement, “The Pinkerton community is heartbroken. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Kyle Ross and we offer our heartfelt prayers and thoughts for Johanna’s recovery.”

Athletic Director Tim Powers remembered Ross as a “good kid. We didn’t have any problems with him,” Powers said of Ross, who played freshman baseball and helped the school win a tournament. “He was never called to my office.”

Ross has lost “a few” students in his career, and said it was always a sad time. “I feel bad for the families, the friends,” he said. “You don’t think of teens and their parents as having to cope with this.”

“It’s a difficult road to negotiate,” Fire Chief George Klauber said of Gulf Road. He added, “It’s a terrible way to end the old year and begin the new. As a parent, I can say that those families will never be the same.”