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Sep 23, 2015 4:42 PM

Thousands of Pelham students stay home after alleged drunk driver knocks out power


PELHAM - Nearly 2,000 students were told to stay home on Wednesday after a main road leading to the town's schools was forced to close for downed utility wires.

The wires were brought down by an alleged drunk driver who struck a utility pole just before midnight on Tuesday, knocking out power to a majority of the town.

“This is a main pole. It is connected to everything," said Pelham Police Lt. Anne Perriello.

Tanisha Rivera, 32, of Lowell, MA was taken into custody and charged with aggravated driving under the influence after her Acura TL crashed into the pole on Marsh Road.

The crash scene was just steps from the town's high school, and less than a mile from two other schools.

Pelham superintendent Amanda Lecaroz told NH1 News the district decided to close all schools because none of the buses could travel down the road.

Lecaroz also said that due to the district-wide closure, students will have to make up the lost day at the end of the school year.

“These gaps in the week, it’s difficult to make up because we are still required to do a certain amount of work," said first grade teacher Cheryl Andrews while at home with her 5-year-old nephew Miles, who also got the day off from school.

According to police, Rivera blew a .12 in a roadside breath test. .08 is the legal limit.

Rivera's two children, aged 7 and 12, were in the car at the time. Both suffered injuries and the 12-year-old may have a broken ankle, according to court documents.

“To see kids get taken away in an ambulance from a drunk driver, it’s just senseless," said Donna Brady, who lives near the crash scene.

At her arraignment Wednesday morning, Rivera was held on $5,000 bail.

Prosecutors said at the time of the crash, she was driving on a suspended license.

Attorneys for the state will also attempt to recover costs for the emergency and utility responses.


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