N.H. man who crashed into agents was unlicensed, had long rap sheet

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WAKEFIELD, N.H. - The driver who died in Tuesday night's collision involving four Secret Service agents working as part of a protective detail for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was driving without a license and had a long history with local police, according to Wakefield Police Chief Kenneth Fifield.

Bruce Danforth, 45, of Ossipee, was headed northbound on Route 16 in a 2001 Mercury Sable when he tried to pass a vehicle and crashed head-on into a 2008 Ford Taurus occupied by the agents.

Danforth died at the scene.

The four agents were taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. One of them was later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Two occupants of the Sable, Kristina Buswell, 21, of Effingham, and Natasha Meroski, 35, of Ossipee, were hospitalized with serious injuries. Police said Meroski was Danforth's girlfriend and Buswell was a mutual friend.

Danforth's body was transported to the state medical examiner's office where an autopsy was performed Wednesday morning. Police said the results of the autopsy would not be available for several weeks.

Fifield said Danforth had a long criminal history and Danforth had been arrested multiple times and was on probation at the time of the crash.

Court records show Danforth had been charged seven times since 2010 with driving while his license was revoked or suspended, including twice when he was also charged with drug-related offenses.

Meanwhile, the accident remains under investigation by the New Hampshire State Police Collision Reconstruction Team.

State Police Lt. Kevin Duffy said all four agents were wearing seat belts.

"There was no improper driving at all on behalf of the Secret Service agents," he told the Associated Press.

He said police were trying to find the driver or a passenger in the car that Danforth was trying to pass to help with the accident reconstruction.

Clinton was campaigning in Berlin at the time of the accident and had been in Portsmouth earlier in the day.

The names of the injured Secret Service agents were not released.

Clinton said in a press release, "My husband and I send our prayers and condolences to all the victims and their families" she said in a statement. "We are grateful every day for the service, dedication, and professionalism of the U.S. Secret Service."

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