Police: Crash, dash, river-rescue suspect now wanted

NEWINGTON — Police have a warrant for the arrest of a Washington state man alleged to have fled from a fiery crash, then later rescued from the turbulent Piscataqua River.

Police Capt. Michael Sullivan said Wednesday a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the driver, Devon Spitze, 31.

Sullivan said the warrant alleges Spitze committed the crime of conduct after an accident, which means he left the scene of an accident. He said the charge is a misdemeanor, Spitze has been released from the hospital and is encouraged to turn himself in.

The police captain said the incident remains under investigation and police now believe Spitze was the only occupant of the vehicle he’s alleged to have crashed in the area of 100 Arboretum Drive at Pease International Tradeport.

Police Chief Michael Bilodeau said Tuesday the crash was reported the prior evening by a caller who reported the crashed vehicle was in some woods. Bilodeau said the driver failed to negotiate a curve, struck a tree and when police got there, no one was in or around the vehicle.

Bilodeau said shortly after police arrived the vehicle burst into flames. While a state police dog was tracking a scent about an hour later, Bilodeau said, police received a call about a man in the river in distress. He said a boater and jet skier attempted to rescue the fighting man, before town firefighters got him out of the river and into a fire boat.

Identified as Spitze, he was transported by ambulance to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Newington police still seek tips from anyone with information, or who saw anything suspicious. Witnesses are asked to call officer Patrick Costin at (603) 431-5461.

Anonymous tips can be made through Seacoast Crime Stoppers by phone at (603) 431-1199, or the “P3” phone app available as a free download. Rewards of up to $1,000 are paid for information leading to arrests and convictions.

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