New Hampshire man dies, plowed down by friend’s truck


ALTON, N.H. (AP) – The driver and victim involved in a fatal snow plow crash were lifelong friends, according to those who knew them both.

Jerry Vayda, 25, of Gilmanton, died early Sunday morning after being struck by a plow truck on Route 140. The driver was Ryan Benson, 26, also of Gilmanton, one of Vayda’s close friends.

“They were like brothers. That’s what makes this such an unthinkable tragedy,” said Brett Marquas, a friend who said Vayda and Benson had grown up together.

Sgt. Ryan Heath said it appears that at the time of the accident, Vayda was walking in the roadway when he was struck by Benson’s vehicle. Benson was not charged after the crash, which police continue to investigate.

Marquas said none of Vayda’s friends blame him for the accident.

“He has enough pain to deal with,” said one of his friends, John Deschenes, who grew up with Vayda and Benson and graduated from Gilford High School two years after they did in 2000.

Vayda, who graduated from the University of New Hampshire, recently had been accepted to a medical school in Maine, his friends said. He had put off medical school for a while to run his father’s construction company after his father was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.

Friend Kent Scovill said in addition to becoming a doctor and running the family business, Vayda had many other interests. Just recently, Vayda learned how to fly a plane and planned to begin learning how to play the guitar next.

Information from: Citizen,

AP-ES-01-02-07 1245EST