ShareThis Page
News

Former PPG executive pleads guilty in fatal NH crash

| Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

NORTH HAVERHILL, N.H. — A former Fortune 500 executive admitted Thursday that he killed a pregnant woman, her fiance and their fetus in what he called a failed suicide attempt when he drove his pickup truck across a highway median into oncoming traffic.

Robert Dellinger pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for the 2013 deaths of 24-year-old Amanda Murphy and 29-year-old Jason Timmons, of Wilder, Vermont. He also pleaded guilty to assault for the death of their fetus; Murphy was eight months pregnant.

“I'm extremely remorseful to the families, and to my own family, as well. I wish I could have that day over,” Dellinger said in court.

Dellinger, of Sunapee, New Hampshire, was initially charged with manslaughter, but that was later upped to second-degree murder. Negligent homicide is a lesser charge. Prosecutors have asked for a 12- to 24-year prison term when Dellinger is sentenced in early April.

Attorney Stephen Gordon maintains that Dellinger was not attempting suicide, but rather suffering from delirium due to a “toxic regime” of prescription medications for multiple sclerosis and depression and from withdrawal from Ambien. He did not specify a sentence term.

Prosecutors said Dellinger, 54, told investigators he was trying to kill himself on Dec. 7, 2013, when he steered his pickup across a highway median in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The truck went airborne and sheared off the top of an SUV the couple was driving in the northbound lane. Dellinger suffered cuts and bruises.

On the day of the crash, prosecutor Geoffrey Ward said Dellinger's wife, Deborah, kicked him out of the house because he wasn't contributing to his own wellness by ignoring doctor's orders about his sleep needs and curfews. She moved her car so he could drive away in his truck.

He said Dellinger “stated that earlier in the day he had a disagreement with his wife and went to Vermont to drive around. He said he was very depressed and gloomy and wanted to have a car wreck and kill himself.”

Ward said the “black box” in Dellinger's car showed he reached a top speed of 101 mph in the seconds before the crash and was going 87 mph a second before his air bag deployed - the point of impact with the SUV. His truck never touched down in the northbound lane, but landed on the shoulder after shearing off the top of the SUV. Before the crash, he had bounced off guard rails on both sides of southbound Interstate 89.

The medical examiner's report compared the injuries suffered by Murphy and Timmons to those of plane crash victims.

Dellinger was a senior vice president and chief financial officer at PPG Industries Inc. when he left in 2011 because of health problems. He also held high-level posts at Sprint Corp., Delphi Corp. and General Electric Co.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me