State Police Sgt. Joseph Ronchi said Thursday it will take at least 60 days and possibly longer to provide public records about the Feb. 25 at 1:24 a.m. crash into a telephone pole in Portsmouth involving Jackie Burnett, the executive assistant to Portsmouth Police Chief Mark Newport.
Burnett, 35, was charged with misdemeanor DUI, but on Monday, the charge was reduced to violation reckless operation. Burnett’s license was suspended for 60 days and she was fined $620 and restitution hasn’t been determined.
InDepthNH.org asked for the records immediately following the crash but did not file a 91a request. State police chose to file the request as a right-to-know request. Portsmouth Police asked State Police to investigate because Burnett is a city employee.
Newport and Burnett didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Ronchi said Thursday: “I’m writing to acknowledge your request pursuant to RSA 91-A, dated March 14, 2023 and received on March 16, 2023, requesting access to public records – specifically a motor vehicle event from February 25, 2023.
“In light of the scope of your request and the workloads and availability of personnel participating in the processing of your request, I estimate that 60 days will be reasonably necessary to locate any responsive records. If, after 60 days I am unable to effectively locate said records, I will provide an additional estimate of the time reasonably necessary to determine the extent of available records in accordance with RSA 91-A and applicable case law.”
Ronchi is the assistant troop commander at Troop A.
There is still a lot of information unknown about the incident.
When Chief Newport was asked via email the day after the crash if it involved someone in his department who had been at a police sanctioned fundraiser at the Rusty Hammer Pub Friday night before the crash, he said it wasn’t department sanctioned. It was a fundraiser for the Battle of the Badges.
“Unfortunately, I will not be available to speak with you until Monday,” he said that day. “I would be interested to hear more about your statement referring to your understanding of this event as being department sanctioned as this was a fundraiser to raise money for the ‘CHAD’ hockey game that two department members are participating in, not a fundraiser for our department,” Newport said in the email. He didn’t respond to further questions.