LEBANON, N.H. -- A former executive at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh told police that he was trying to kill himself last weekend when he drove his pickup truck across the grassy median of a highway and slammed into an SUV, killing an expectant couple inside, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Robert Dellinger is charged with two counts of reckless manslaughter in connection with the crash, which killed Jason Timmons, 29, and Amanda Murphy, 24, who was eight months pregnant. Mr. Timmons and Ms. Murphy were from Wilder, Vt.; their unborn child also died.
Prosecutors said Mr. Dellinger's truck crossed the median on Interstate 89 on Saturday, became airborne and sheared off the top of the couple's car, killing them instantly. The medical examiner's report said the injuries they suffered were consistent with a plane crash.
Mr. Dellinger, 53, served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at PPG Industries Inc. at its Pittsburgh headquarters, taking a severance package worth more than $1 million in cash plus stocks when he left in 2011 because of health reasons, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mr. Dellinger, now of Sunapee, was arraigned by video. He sat at a table and stared down for most of the proceeding. His wife, sons and about a dozen other supporters left court without speaking to reporters. Mr. Dellinger, who also held top-level posts at Sprint Corp., Delphi Corp. and General Electric Co., bought a home on Sunapee Lake in November 2012, according to property records.
Susan Morrell, senior assistant attorney general for New Hampshire, said Mr. Dellinger argued with his wife over his medications on the morning of the crash. He left the house and began to drive around, growing increasingly despondent, she said. A trooper said Mr. Dellinger said he intended to kill himself.
"He was driving around, depressed and loopy," Ms. Morrell said. "He saw the median and decided to turn into it."
Ms. Morrell noted that the portion of median Mr. Dellinger chose had no trees, rocks or other obstacles. "He could have chosen many other ways to kill himself that would not put anyone else in danger," she said.
Mr. Dellinger's lawyer, R. Peter Decato, called the state's comments "over the top," and said his client had led a "productive and exemplary life." He argued for low bail for Mr. Dellinger. A judge ordered him held on $250,000 cash bail, which his family was ready to post Wednesday.
Mr. Dellinger also will have to get a mental health evaluation, wear an electronic monitor, surrender his passport and driver's licenses and not drive a car. He will have to stay in New Hampshire, despite a request by his lawyer to allow him to travel for mental health treatment in Kansas, where he has property.