Tow truck operator Bill Grizzaffi deciding how to remove the Audi from the brook

PHOTOS: Car "went up like a bonfire" in Lebanon crash

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Eric Francis

UPDATED: Drunk driving and speeding charges filed

LEBANON - Three people emerged with only minor injuries after their car flipped into the Great Brook and burst into flames Tuesday evening just south of the Keene Medical Products store on Route 120, which is known locally as Meriden Road.

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    "It went up like a bonfire!," recalled Bill Grizzaffi who happened to be driving by moments after the accident happened because his tow truck company is located a short distance down the road from the thick stand of trees the Audi punched straight through before it reached the brook and flipped over onto its roof, sustaining heavy damage.

The crash slowed traffic on Route 120 south of downtown Lebanon for hours

    Lebanon and Plainfield police officers and New Hampshire state troopers at the scene declined to initially identify the driver, saying only that he had been taken to the hospital but was going to be processed on suspicion of drunk driving afterwards; however, multiple witnesses at the scene recognized the driver as local resident Paul "P. J." Gaynor.

    Initially ambulances from Lebanon, Hanover, and Hartford were called to the scene after witnesses said the vehicle had burst into flames.  The crash took place just a few yards south of the intersection with Churchill Way.

    All of the occupants of the vehicle had already gotten themselves out before Lebanon firefighters arrived and quickly knocked down the fire.

    Police said the other passengers in the car, a male and a female, were juveniles and they too only sustained minor injuries.

    UPDATE: On Wednesday the Lebanon Police Department identified the driver of the vehicle as Paul J. Gaynor, age 18, of Lebanon and said that their investigation determined Gaynor "was intoxicated at the time of the crash and had been driving at excessive speeds just prior to leaving the roadway."

    Gaynor was arrested for misdemeanor DUI and also reckless driving, which is a violation level offense.

The car was barely visible from the roadway

Paul "PJ" Gaynor, 18, of Lebanon is facing DUI and reckless driving charges


Lebanon Police Department Photo

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