Police: Tunbridge man dies in Royalton crash after crossing center line

David A. Durkee, of Claremont, N.H., is given a field sobriety test by Claremont Police Officer Christy Atkinson after the SUV he was driving hit a utility pole on Route 12A in Claremont, N.H. as Claremont firefighter Pete O'Sullivan, left, and Lt. Brian Rapp, right, clean up debris from the single vehicle accident Thursday, November 17, 2016. Durkee was arrested and charged with driving after the revocation or suspension of his license. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

David A. Durkee, of Claremont, N.H., is given a field sobriety test by Claremont Police Officer Christy Atkinson after the SUV he was driving hit a utility pole on Route 12A in Claremont, N.H. as Claremont firefighter Pete O'Sullivan, left, and Lt. Brian Rapp, right, clean up debris from the single vehicle accident Thursday, November 17, 2016. Durkee was arrested and charged with driving after the revocation or suspension of his license. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 02-19-2024 9:13 PM

Modified: 02-20-2024 2:00 PM


ROYALTON — A 37-year-old Tunbridge man died following a two-vehicle crash in which he was at the wheel of one vehicle when it crossed the center line in the road and collided with another vehicle on Route 14 in Royalton on Friday morning.

David Allen Durkee Jr., a 2005 graduate of Chelsea High School, “succumbed to his injuries” at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph where he had been transported from the scene following the accident, Royalton police said in a news release.

Police did not identify the operator in the second vehicle or their condition.

Royalton police said they responded to a report of a crash at 4603 Route 14 at about 8:30 a.m. on Friday and when officer Oscar Gardner arrived at the scene he found two cars with extensive front-end damage: A 2018 Toyota Rav4 and a 2018 Chevy Cruz. Gardner was directed to a male in the operator’s seat of the Chevy Cruz — subsequently identified as Durkee. After checking Durkee, Gardner removed him from the vehicle and began to administer life-saving measures, including CPR, according to police.

Both Durkee and the operator of the other vehicle were transported to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

In addition to Gardner, the South Royalton Fire Department, White River Valley Ambulance and Vermont State Police also responded.

A self-employed stone mason by trade and member of the extensive Durkee and Moses families who have deep roots on the Vermont side of the Upper Valley, Durkee was the father of two young sons, said his cousin, Brittany Moses, via Facebook messenger on Monday.

On Monday afternoon, Royalton Police Chief Loretta Stalnaker said via email that she is “unsure why (Durkee) crossed the center line” of the road and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Starbucks store planned for Route 120 at Centerra
Canaan Elementary School has new principal
City plans to widen and replace bridge on Trues Brook Road
Enterprise: Upper Valley pet sitters discuss business growth, needs
2024 Upper Valley high school baseball guide
Enterprise: Wildlife nuisance professionals discuss business misconception

Durkee had been involved in prior vehicle crashes and DUI offenses, according to police news releases, including in 2019, when Hartford police arrested him after a motor vehicle stop on Interstate 89 and charged him with driving under the influence. He was also arrested in 2021, following a rollover crash on Fay Brook Road in Sharon and while wanted on a warrant for failing to appear on a charge of driving with a suspended license.

Those with information about Friday’s crash are asked to call the Royalton Police Department at 802-763-8961 or submit information online via the department’s website: RoyaltonPD.com.

John Lippman can be reached at jlippman@vnews.com.