Police searching for driver who crashed into Manchester home, causing serious gas leak
Written by NH1 News on .
MANCHESTER — Police are searching for a driver who crashed into a home and caused a gas leak Monday night after they fled a traffic stop in Goffstown — leaving their passenger behind.
Goffstown police said around 10:10 p.m. an officer passing the Cumberland Farms on Mast Road saw a white man with a white long-sleeve shirt in the front passenger seat of an SUV aiming a black semi-automatic handgun out of the front passenger window toward the area of Cercle National Club.
The officer stopped the green 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer as it was leaving the parking lot. Police said after the officer removed the passenger from the vehicle, the driver fled the traffic stop heading east on Mast Road toward Varney Street.
The officer did not pursue the SUV and instead arrested the passenger who allegedly had pointed the handgun at passing vehicles. He was identified as Richard A. Philibert Jr., 46, of Manchester, and charged with felony reckless conduct and felon in possession of a firearm.
Philibert is being held on $10,000 cash bail and will be arraigned in Hillsborough County Superior Court North on Tuesday.
A short time later, Goffstown police said they learned that the Trailblazer had crashed into a house on Varney Street in Manchester.
The Manchester Fire Department responded and said that the crash severed a gas line below the shut-off, causing gas to flow freely into and around the home. Fire crews searched the overturned SUV and found that the driver had fled the scene.
Additional fire and rescue crews arrived and evacuated the residence, and firefighters entered the home a second time to rescue a dog and a cat who were both safely handed off to their owner.
None of the occupants were injured, but officials said one firefighter suffered minor injuries during the pet rescue. They also said they believe the driver of the SUV sustained injuries in the crash.
All possible sources of ignition were eliminated as fire crews trained hose lines to direct gas vapors away from the crews that were operating. Officials said Keyspan arrived on scene and turned off the free flowing gas after about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Manchester Fire said the home sustained some structural damage but the eight occupants who were evacuated were able to return as crews mitigated the incident.
The semi-automatic handgun involved in the Goffstown incident was recovered by police at the scene of the crash.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has any information on either incident, is asked to contact the Goffstown Police Department at 603-497-4858 or the Manchester Police Department at 603-668-8711.