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New Hope Borough Councilwoman killed in car accident


The vice president of New Hope Borough Council was killed Monday afternoon in a car accident in Buckingham, officials said Tuesday.

Laurie McHugh, 58, was driving on Durham Road (Route 413) near Upper Mountain Road when her 2016 Audi collided with a tractor-trailer, according to police.

The front end of McHugh’s vehicle was severely damaged, while the truck sustained moderate damage. The driver of the truck, who has not yet been identified, was taken to St. Mary Medical Center and was treated and released. McHugh was also taken to St. Mary where she succumbed to her injuries, authorities said.

McHugh, a Democrat, was first elected to the borough council in 2016.

"She quickly earned a reputation as a thoughtful, fair and professional representative of New Hope’s diverse residents and businesses,” said the borough’s manager, Peter Gray, in a statement, expressing “shock and profound sadness” at McHugh’s death.

Besides her role as vice president, McHugh served as council liaison to the Shade Tree Commission and Greater New Hope Chamber of Commerce. She also helped form the borough’s first Junior Council and served on the ad hoc committees overseeing the visitor center and reviewing the town’s parking needs, Gray said.

The manager credited McHugh with taking the lead helping businesses find “innovative ways of operating” during the COVID-19 pandemic, “ensuring residents and visitors knew that New Hope was open for ‘contactless’ business.”

 Larry Keller, New Hope’s long-serving mayor, said McHugh was “always upbeat and smiling. She was an asset to the community.” 

If things grew contentious on council, “she never got nasty, never had a sharp tongue,” he said. “All of our council is mourning today.”

Earlier this year, McHugh opened Lambertville’s first authorized craft cannabis dispensary, the Union Chill Cannabis Company. 

“Laurie’s vision for this women-owned business centered on community, integrity, social responsibility and economic success,” said Gray.

McHugh also owned and was director of Dragon Boat Adventures LLC, according to her Linkedin profile.

McHugh co-founded the Bucks County Dragon Boat Association, four-time national champions in the internationally recognized races. She also co-founded the Bucks County Dragon Boat Festival and the New Hope vs Lambertville Paddle Battle, a friendly competition between New Hope and Lambertville First Responders.

Memorial services will be announced in the coming weeks, Gray said.

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