Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota woman is dead and her husband seriously injured after a crash Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire, authorities said. The man believed to be responsible for the crash is in jail on charges of drinking and driving and fleeing the scene.
New Hampshire State Police said the crash happened in the town of Rollinsford at about 4:27 p.m. Saturday.
A 2008 Infinity, being driven by a 43-year-old New Hampshire man, was heading westbound on Route 4 while the 2008 Spectra, being driven by 30-year-old Brian Preiss of St. Paul, was headed east.
Authorities said the Infinity drifted into the eastbound lane and hit the Kia in near head-on fashion. Preiss and a passenger, 30-year-old Leah Fonda of St. Paul, were transported to a hospital where Fonda later died.
The family says that Brian is in the hospital with head trauma and internal injuries. He is expected to recover, but he will be in the hospital for several days.
The New Hampshire man, identified as Matthew Tsopas, attempted to flee the scene, but was located a short time later and taken to the hospital, authorities said.
Authorities said it’s believed Tsopas was driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested at the hospital for possible charges, including negligent homicide, felony driving under the influence of alcohol and felony conduct after an accident.
Leah’s mom, Jonalyn Kunce, described the emotions she felt after hearing of her daughter’s death.
“Totally wounded to totally enraged, because this was so preventable,” Kunce said.
Relatives said the couple got married just over a week ago in Bloomington in front of a small group of close family and friends. Both were ride operators at the Nickelodeon Universe theme park in the Mall of America.
Brian’s uncle, Ken Czech says the wedding was a long time coming.
“Leah had been wanting to go out with Brian for a long time. He was just so quiet so it took him a long time to finally ask her. So, she was overjoyed when he finally did ask her,” Czech said.
The crash happened on the eighth day of their 17-day road trip to the east coast.
“Such a wonderful future together after waiting so long. Both were 30 years old, so they decided this is the time to do things and you could see happiness bubbling over. To have it cut so soon, so tragically, beyond belief,” Czech said.
Authorities said the accident is still under investigation.
Anyone with further information about the crash is asked to call the New Hampshire State Police Department at 603-223-8490.
If you’d like to donate to a memorial fund, contributions can be sent to:
The Leah Fonda Preiss Memorial Fund
c/o Wells Fargo Bank
809 10th Avenue North
Sartell, MN 56377
Contributions to the Leah Fonda Preiss Memorial Fund can also be made at any Wells Fargo Bank Branch.
Watch Rachel Slavik’s Earlier Report