Police Say Alcohol Not a Factor in Fatal Mt. Hope Bridge Crash

State Police are looking into whether distracted driving was involved in Saturday's crash, as well as any medical issues. The crash remains under investigation.

State Police say "alcohol" was not a factor in a head-on crash that resulted in the death of a Barrington man and injured several others Saturday night. 

Paul L. Matthews, 63, of Heritage Road, Barrington, died Saturday night after a head-on collision occurred on the Mt. Hope Bridge. 

Warren resident Lenor C. Andrade and Portsmouth residents James and Ann Hitchen, and John and Susan Kelchner were also injured during the major crash. None of their injuries are considered life-threatening. 

State Police Capt. Frank B. Castellone says alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but police are looking into whether distracted driving or a medical issue was the cause. 

"The investigation is not complete," Castellone said. "We are awaiting the report from the Medical Examiner's Office. We are looking into whether there was a medical issue."  

The GMC van, operated by Matthews, swerved to the left and struck another vehicle head-on, according to The Providence Journal. Matthews was not wearing a seatbelt at the time, according to the article. 

The crash remains under investigation by the State Police. 

Motorists were directed to find alternate routes Saturday night after police closed Mt. Hope Bridge to all traffic following this serious motor vehicle crash. 

The bridge was closed to traffic around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Motorists were directed to take Route 24 to I-195 through Fall River, MA, as a detour to Bristol. 

Mt. Hope Bridge was re-opened to traffic around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. 

Sandy McGee December 04, 2012 at 07:44 PM
To Bob and LP, the original article cited an article from The Providence Journal and linked to it. It was learned shortly after that the article's information was incorrect. The original article was promptly removed once learning this. The above article is the corrected one with quotes from the State Police.
Michelle Driver December 04, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Sandy if that is the case I suggest removing the facebook posting as it still says "Police blame fatal Mt. Hope Bridge accident on distracted driving.". People will read that and not read the full article. You don't want inaccurate information causing undo harm to the families. I also suggest making a note of the correction in the article itself. Disappointed with Patch...
Sandy McGee December 05, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Hi Michelle. Thank-you for your comment. Let me assure you, the Facebook headline was changed immediately within minutes of learning this information. I don't know where you saw this headline, but it was changed earlier today.
John December 05, 2012 at 12:28 PM
People should realize by now that the correct information is hard to get when the media is involved. And the media likes to get the news out as soon as possible weather it's right or some what right. Don't believe everything you read! Horrible news sells news papers. Good news doesn't. But I guess thats what the people in this country like! News papers are in bussines to make money, not friends!"
Nicole December 07, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Regardless of the cause, that bridge is WAY too narrow for two-way traffic, and is a hazard to drivers everywhere, distracted or not.


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