Driving While Sleepy Led to Retired NH Police Officer Being Struck
The wife of the man charged with the hit-and-run death of a retired police officer as she rode a bicycle on Route 125 in Kingston will remain in jail as new details about the incident are revealed in court documents.
Craig Sprowl, 45, and his wife Angela Sprowl, 30, were taken into custody at the Motel 6 hotel in Portsmouth on Friday morning without incident. Craig Sprowl was charged with negligent homicide and conduct after an accident while Angela Sprowl was charged with hindering apprehension and stalking.
Angela Sprowl was arraigned in Portsmouth District Court via video Monday morning and pleaded not guilty to the hindering charge and could not post $10,000 cash bail. Her court-appointed attorney was named during her hearing but could not be present.
As a result, Angela Sprowl, who said in court she works at the Sheraton Portsmouth, agreed to postpone her bail hearing until Tuesday. The judge also said she faces additional criminal charges in Arizona and Florida but did not disclose details.
Restraining Order Violation
The affidavit in the case revealed Craig Sprowl has a restraining order against Angela Sprowl issued in December which she was in violation of by helping her husband.
State Police detectives watching the couple at the Motel 6 in Portsmouth arranged for the clerk to call and tell them that their vehicle needed to be moved, according to the affidavit. She also told investigators that Craig Sprowl has already checked out.
Angela Sprowl went to the parking lot and was talking on her cell phone, according to the affidavit, walked to the edge of the parking lot and made gestures as if she was waving someone away. Police discovered Craig Sprowl hiding in a corner of the parking lot and took him into custody.
Angela Sprowl was arrested as she drove slowly around the parking lot looking for her husband.
Witnesses and Video Help Build a Case
Surveillance video from two nearby businesses and witnesses stepping forward helped make the case against Craig Sprowl, according to the affidavit against him.
One video captured a dark-colored SUV striking Donna Briggs, 59, on Tuesday morning as she trained for the Police Unity Tour. The second video showed Sprowl returned to the spot before leaving at a high rate of speed.
A witness told State Police that she saw a dark-colored SUV stop and someone throw a bike out the passenger's side and down an embankment, according to the affidavit.
Another witness said that he was ahead of the Yukon and watched it drive into the right breakdown lane and strike a bicyclist. He watched the Yukon make a U-turn and head back north on Route 125.
Thanks to a piece of the lens from a headlight with a part number found at the crash, scene investigators were able to narrow down the vehicle as a 2005 GMC Yukon. They further searched the state DMV database and tracked its ownership to Tom Ross, the former owner of Top Line Motor Sports in Derry where Craig Sprowl was an employee.
Ross had sold the Yukon to Craig Sprowl in late July or early August, according to the affidavit. Investigators found that he had been living at the Days Inn on Central Avenue in Dover; video captured the Yukon coming and going from the hotel on Central Avenue.
Closing in on Craig Sprowl
Detectives found the Sprowls at the Cumberland Farms on Gosling Road in Portsmouth on Thursday night in a minivan driven by Angela Sprowl. She went into the store while he willingly spoke to the officer.
According to the affidavit, Craig Sprowl initially denied having the Yukon the day of the crash but then admitted he had driven from the Days Inn to Irving gas station on Route 155. He then stopped at the Rusty Lantern Market in Lee because he was falling asleep behind the wheel.
Craig Sprowl said got back on the road and headed south on Route 125 towards Derry but kept nodding off and running over the rumble strip. He was dozing off when he was awoken by a bang and stopped to inspect the vehicle. He noticed the front end damage to the Yukon but could not explain why he didn't stop to report the incident.
He continued onto Top Line and later saw news reports about a woman being struck. Police said that when he realized it could have been him that stuck her he was "remorseful and apologetic."
Craig Sprowl is still being held at the Rockingham County Jail.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH