CONCORD, NH – The homeless man who was struck on I-393 in his wheelchair while trying to roll from South Commercial Street to North Main Street has passed away due to his injuries.
Gene Parker, 62, died on Jan. 31, 2016, with family and friends at Concord Hospital.
Parker was hit at around 7 p.m. on Jan. 28, on the eastbound side of the Interstate. Friends had rolled him up South Commercial Street and were behind him when he was hit. Parker was taken to Concord Hospital with serious injuries, according to comments made by family and friends on Facebook. The highway was closed for a number of hours as the incident was investigated. Neither alcohol nor drugs were factors and no charges have been filed against the driver, according to Concord Police.
Parker, according to online records, was a registered sex offender, having been convicted of two felonious sexual assault charges in 2001. He was previously convicted of theft, trespass, violation of a protective order, and duty to inform. He was trying to turn his life around after years of alcohol abuse, according to press reports, and had repaired relations with at least one of the victims, a family member, according to an advocate. In 2010, before he was paroled, Parker requested to be kept in prison in order to be better prepared for release, according to an Associated Press report. He lost his limbs due to frostbite and during surgery last week, lost more of his legs and had two collapsed lungs, due to the accident.
During the past few days, many in the homeless community and their advocates have been angered that the sidewalk– the shortest route between The Friendly Kitchen and North Main Street – has not been cleared. The night after the accident, numerous people grabbed shovels and began clearing the sidewalk themselves, according to a post on Facebook. The city, however, maintains that it is an Interstate highway system and should not be used by pedestrians even though there is a sidewalk there. The agreement with the city, as part of the site plan review, also states that the soup kitchen would work with the state to make sure the sidewalks were cleared.