by Trooper Ed Twohig
A Motor Vehicle Stop Gone Bad
19, 1997 began as a typically beautiful bright sunny
summer day in the North Country. Before the day was over,
it had become a day so ugly that it will forever be
remembered as one of the darkest days of this region's
|Scott Phillips was a popular
figure in the small community of Colebrook, where he
lived. A common sight in Colebrook was Scott pushing his
son in a runner's stroller as he ran along the town's
roads. Scott had been assigned to Troop F since coming on
with the State Police in 1990. Troop F covers a land mass
that is one third of the State of New Hampshire an d is
staffed only by approximately three dozen Troopers.
Trooper Phillips exemplified the characteristics of the
men and women of Troop F: friendly and community oriented
yet consistent in dealing with incidents which in larger
departments are handled by multiple officers. Troopers in
the North Country are few and far between.
Upon stopping for Trooper Phillips blue lights, Drega got out of his rusted old pickup truck and fired at Trooper Phillips with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Trooper Phillips returned fire but was wounded. A bullet that struck one of his hands hindered his efforts to reload his emptied pistol. Wounded and unable to reload his weapon, Trooper Phillips attempted to evade Drega and took advantage of some tall grass near by to conceal himself as he struggled to overcome his wounds and equipment difficulty.
In a very unlikely circumstance, Trooper Leslie Lord, also of Troop F happened to be in Colebrook at the time of the shooting. As mentioned above, Troopers in the North Country are customarily few and far between. Also a family man, Leslie Lord was married
|and had two sons. He was a
native of the North Country, having grown up in Pittsburg.
He was active in his hometown, where he was active Chief
of the Pittsburg. N.H. Fire Department and was very
involved in snowmobiling where he was Trail Master for
the Northern Corridor. A lifetime law enforcement officer,
Leslie Lord had been the Chief of Police in Pittsburg,
New Hampshire, had been a New Hampshire Highway
Enforcement Officer for almost ten years before a merger
joined Highway Enforcement with State Police and Leslie
became a Trooper for approximately one year prior to this
Seeing Trooper Lord entering the parking lot, Drega redirected his attention from the wounded Trooper Phillips to Trooper Lord. He fired his assault rifle at Trooper Lord's cruiser, striking it. One of the bullets pierced the side of the vehicle, and struck Trooper Lord, killing him.
The gunman then resumed his pursuit of Trooper Phillips into the tall grass, and killed him.
It was later learned that Drega was wearing body armor during this shoot-out with Trooper Phillips.
In a sick and twisted turn, the gunman then stole Trooper Phillips' cruiser. He drove it to The News and Sentinel newspaper in the town of Colebrook.
Attorney Vickie Bunnell was also a part time Judge and had ruled against Drega in more than one of his legal forays. He had threatened [ Page 2 ]
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