Interview of Tim and Faith Westman (owners of The Weathered Barn, amd who live across from the accident site)
I went to North Haverhill on Rt. 112 to view the Maura Murray accident site. While there, I parked across the street from the Westman residence and saw that they were home in the kitchen and decided to interview them about what they had seen and done on February 9th, 2004.
(*name of interviewer "APN" ***) I spoke to the Westmans in their kitchen after they invited us inside. They were interviewed together while we stood in their kitchen. During this time, I was able to get a direct view of what they would have seen that night. They had a very clear view of the accident scene. There is also a street light outside their house on the corner lighting up that area fairly well.
The Westmans told us that they were the first to see the accident scene. They heard the collision and watched out their window the entire time. (As an aside, they said that the tree the ribbon is on is the wrong tree that was hit in the accident, and it is actually closer to the corner). Neither of them went out to the scene when it happened but Tim Westman said that he went out later after all the fire department people and police were there and saw the car close up. He said that there wasn’t much snow on the snow banks and that the car could be walked around without trouble. The car looked like it was parked on the roadway and didn’t readily look like it had crashed.
Mrs. Westman said she called 911 right away and had no trouble getting through. Either 911 or the police department hung up with them after getting their information (I didn’t ask which entity she talked to).
Both the Westmans said that they saw whoever had been in the car when it crashed get in and out of the car several times. They made sure to say that they could not recognize it as Maura Murray because it was too dark, but they could see the form of someone moving around. They said that they saw the interior light go on and off several times and heard the doors shut as if someone kept getting in and out of the car. They also said they saw the person open the trunk and close it as well during this time. They never saw anyone else around that car besides that one person and never saw any other vehicles stop, prior to police arrival, other than a school bus.
The Westmans said that 4 to 5 minutes after the car crashed, they saw a school bus come from aroul1d the comer and stop in the road next to the car. They didn’t see who was driving but heard later that it was Butch Atwood. They said that his wife also drives bus and also is large like he is so it very well could have been her for all they knew. They indicated they understood his wife did not have his last name but went by *****. The Westmans said that the school bus was between them and Maura and that she had gotten out of the car, but he did not get on the bus. It seemed that the bus driver talked to her for no more than two minutes and the driver never got out of the bus, or out of the seat for that matter. The driver drove off and the car’s driver went back to the car.
When I asked the Westman’s about the timeline between that point and when the police arrived, they said that it took about 15 minutes for the police to arrive after the bus left. They felt sure that it could have been that long but no shorter than 10 minutes. During this time, they saw someone smoking a cigarette from inside the car from the front passenger side seat. Tim Westman said that he had told Fred Murray about that but he insisted his daughter did not smoke, so it must have been the light from her cell phone he said.
The Westmans said that the light inside the car and trunk kept going on and off and finally there were no lights on at all. No more than two minutes after that point, the police cruiser arrived. Shortly thereafter, a police officer knocked on their door asking if anyone from the car accident had come to their residence and they said no.
Both Tim and Faith Westman say they are positive that nobody walked by their house (back towards Route 10)...they said that they could see clearly out in front of their house and would have seen her go by...plus the officer came from that way and didn’t see her. (I was there when it turned dark and the light is fairly bright and the house is close to the road). They feel that she must have walked the other way.
The Westmans said that EMS and Fire showed up and that for about an hour they all walked around looking throughout the area. When they were done, there were footprints all over the place and any follow up would have been difficult.
I asked the Westmans about the Atwood family. They said they didn’t know them very well. They kept to themselves and had no children they said. They weren’t openly neighborly, but thought that Mr. Marotte who lived across the road from them was.