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State v. Lamprey

Supreme Court of New Hampshire
821 A.2d 1080 (2003)


Nancy Lamprey (defendant) operated a child day care center out of her home. After school, Lamprey picked up six children at a bus stop. The six children climbed into the bed of Lamprey’s pickup truck. On the way to her home, Lamprey performed “swervies” to entertain the children, whereby she steered the truck back and forth in a zigzag pattern. The truck left the road and struck a tree. One child died. The remaining five children suffered various injuries. The State of New Hampshire (plaintiff) charged Lamprey with one count of manslaughter, one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct, and four counts of first-degree assault. At trial, Lamprey testified that the accident occurred when her truck unexpectedly accelerated due to a mechanical defect. A prosecution witness testified that the truck did not suffer from any mechanical problems that would have contributed to the crash. At the close of the evidence, the trial court instructed the jury on causation and on Lamprey’s claim that the truck’s mechanical issue was an intervening cause. The court instructed that the intervening cause had to be the “sole substantial cause” of the victims’ injuries. Lamprey was convicted on all counts, and she appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Duggan, J.)

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