Woman killed after vehicle strikes tree in Portsmouth

Fatal accident took place while police were investigating homicide Monday night

Posted 5/23/23

PORTSMOUTH — A 69-year-old Middletown woman died from injuries sustained in an accident on Indian Avenue Monday night.

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Woman killed after vehicle strikes tree in Portsmouth

Fatal accident took place while police were investigating homicide Monday night

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — A 69-year-old Middletown woman died from injuries sustained in an accident on Indian Avenue Monday night.

Police first received word of the incident at 7:14 p.m.

“At the scene, a preliminary investigation revealed that a vehicle had left the roadway on Indian Avenue in the area of Swan Drive and collided with a tree,” Police Chief Brian Peters said during a press conference Tuesday at police headquarters.

The driver of the vehicle, Claudia Bell, “sustained injuries in the crash and was transported to Newport Hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased,” Peters said. 

Bell was the only occupant of the vehicle “and speed appears to have been a factor in the crash,” he said, noting there was no indication that alcohol played a part in the accident. “We don’t know what her destination was,” he added.

The accident took place at the same time officers were investigating a homicide in another part of town. Police requested the assistance of the Middletown Police Department, which dispatched officers to the accident scene to provide mutual aid.

Middletown Police is conducting the crash investigation, which remains under investigation. That department will be assisted by the Portsmouth Police detective division to determine more information. 

Peters said the two departments rely on each other for mutual aid, and that he was grateful for Middletown Police’s assistance. The Portsmouth Police force currently has 38 officers and “we’re down four officers right now,” he said.

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