By NANCY BEAN FOSTER
Union Leader Correspondent

July 12, 2012

NEW IPSWICH — Charges have been dropped against a New Ipswich woman accused of injuring her neighbor in a hit-and-run accident, and while the police chief said the investigation will continue and the woman may face new charges, her attorney said the police just don’t have a case.

On April 25 around 10:30 a.m., Crystal Hazelton, 24, of Wyman Road was walking her daughter in her stroller along Thayer Road when a car hit her from behind.

Hazelton was injured by the impact and later flown to UMass Medical Center in Worcester. Her daughter, strapped into the stroller, was not hurt.

Hazelton identified the vehicle that struck her as a small, black car, but there were no other witnesses to the incident.

Police arrested Kaitlyn Blackler, 19, and charged her with conduct after an accident, a felony after she turned herself in to police on June 5.

But just before her probable cause hearing Monday at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey, police dropped the charge against Blackler.

According to Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain, the decision to drop the charge stemmed from the department’s inability to bring in an expert witness to help the prosecution in its case.

“We felt that we couldn’t go forward with the probable cause hearing without all the evidence and that expert witness,” said Chamberlain. “It’s frustrating, but this is a case that didn’t have any physical evidence or eyewitnesses. We need definitive testimony of that expert witness.”

But Blackler’s attorney, Adam Bernstein, said all the police had was circumstantial evidence at best, and that all of the evidence they did have didn’t add up to his client’s guilt. The only physical evidence in the case is a small, black car owned by Blackler that was parked on the front lawn in front of Blackler’s residence just a few doors down from where Hazelton was struck.

“If my client had something to hide, why would she park the car on the front lawn of her house? Why would she voluntarily surrender it to police when they came knocking on her door?” Bernstein said. “I think they have the wrong person.”

Bernstein said the Blackler has been under tremendous stress since her arrest and feels vilified by police and the press.

“Everybody’s pointing fingers at my client, but there’s no evidence to support the accusations,” said Bernstein.

Chamberlain said the investigation will continue.