Category Archives: Chittenden County

News and events in Chittenden County, Vermont

College student hospitalized after 40-foot bridge jump during police chase

COLCHESTER — Colchester police say a St. Michael’s College student remains hospitalized after jumping off a bridge and falling 40 feet while running from security officers.
Police said Friday night’s chain of events began when the man destroyed merchandise at a convenience store and was chased by college security when he was spotted running through campus.
Police told the Burlington Free Press ( ) that the man jumped over the rail of a bridge without warning and fell about 40 feet onto railroad tracks below.
The man was taken to Fletcher Allen hospital, where he was treated in the intensive care unit and remained hospitalized Saturday night.
Police say the man is an out-of-state student at St. Michaels, but they withheld releasing his name pending notification of his family.

Firefighters look for cause of Wendy’s restaurant fire

ESSEX JUNCTION — Firefighters are trying to fire out what caused a fire at a Wendy’s restaurant in Essex Junction, Vt.
Deputy Fire Chief Phil Noyes said he believes Wednesday’s fire started in a rooftop vent unit in the kitchen, but added that wasn’t the conclusion yet. The fire was between the ceiling and the roof.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( Noyes said a handful of employees were inside the restaurant preparing to open when the fire broke out at about 8:45 a.m.
No one was injured.

Inspector says pigs are out of the house in Essex

ESSEX — A Vermont couple appears to have found new homes for dozens of mini-pigs that were in an Essex home.
Zoning administrator Sharon Kelley said she went through the whole house on Tuesday, and the pigs are gone.
Pig breeder Florence Gruber and her partner Alan Tsefrekas had been keeping over 40 pigs inside Tsefrekas’ home for about a month before the town ordered them to relocate the animals.
They had until Tuesday to remove them. Kelley said local and state regulations define pigs, even miniature potbellied pigs, as agricultural animals. She said agricultural animals are prohibited from living within a residential neighborhood.
Kelley told the Burlington Free Press ( that various animal rescue organizations, as well as people interested in adopting pet pigs, participated in the resettlement project.

Guzman will miss screening of “The Last Stand” tonight in Williston

Due to an unexpected illness, Luis Guzmán will not be in attendance tonight at the screening of The Last Stand to benefit Hunger Free Vermont, according to a spokesperson for the charity. The 7 p.m. screening and fundraiser will go on per Guzmán’s request, however, and he will be rescheduling another event in the near future. Please stay tuned for details on a future event.

Gun range tells police officers: ‘Keep Out’ after BTV gun vote

BURLINGTON — A Vermont firing range is telling the Burlington Police Department its officers are unwelcome to train after the City Council advanced a measure to ban semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( a letter from the board chairman of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club says it can no longer support the city with such a “prejudice” against the club and a threat to constitutional freedoms. It has voted to suspend the city’s use of its range for law enforcement.
The City Council voted earlier this month to craft the ban. It would have to go before voters and then legislators.
Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling said the city’s exclusion from the range likely would affect how and when officers train with firearms.

Ex-Vermont cop gets 2 years and restitution for timesheet padding

BURLINGTON — A former Vermont State Police sergeant was taken into custody Monday to begin serving up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges he padded his timesheets. He must pay $202,000 in restitution, money that will be taken from his pension over a period of about six years.
James Deeghan entered the guilty pleas to two counts of false claims and two counts of neglect of duty during a change of plea hearing in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.
Deeghan told the court he had been under “tremendous” financial pressures and that the fraud became routine for him. He said he acted alone and he apologized for his actions.
“I just hope people don’t hold state police responsible for what I did,” he said.
In court papers filed Friday afternoon, investigators said they had documented almost $213,000 in fraud by Deeghan. State police suspended Deeghan on July 9 and he resigned the next day after a colleague noticed discrepancies in his pay sheets.
In addition to padding his timesheet between 2008 and 2012, Deeghan was accused of writing 978 fake traffic tickets.
In court, Deeghan said he hoped people don’t hold state police responsible for what he did.
The Burlington Free Press ( ) is reporting it will take about six years to repay the money.
Judge Brian Grearson called the 23-24 month sentence to be followed by probation, “a fair resolution.”
“This is a sad day. This is a tragic day,” Grearson said.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to speak at UVM

BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont will be holding a series of events this month to honor the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
UVM says the highlight will be a visit by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who will give a speech at Ira Allen Chapel on Jan. 22.
The talk is free and open to the public but tickets are required. Tickets will be available starting Monday for UVM students, faculty and staff. Tickets will be open to the general public on Friday.
Next week UVM will hold a birthday party for King on Tuesday in the Davis Center Atrium.

Trooper to change plea in overtime padding case

BURLINGTON — The Vermont State Police trooper charged with padding his time sheets is planning to withdraw his not-guilty plea.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( there’s a plea agreement in the works for former Sgt. Jim Deeghan, a former state police patrol commander in Chittenden County. A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for Monday morning in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.
Details of the plea agreement were not made public Wednesday. Prosecutors and Deeghan’s lawyer have been meeting at the courthouse at a judge’s office.
Deeghan resigned in July. He had pleaded not guilty to two felony charges that he claimed 63 hours of overtime in June that he didn’t work.
Investigators believed Deeghan overcharged almost $140,000 from Dec. 21, 2008 to July 14, 2012.

Woman sentenced in texting crash

BURLINGTON — A Colchester woman has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for hitting a pedestrian with her car while texting and driving.
Twenty-year-old Emma Vieira of Colchester had pleaded guilty in October to grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with injury resulting for striking and seriously injuring 53-year-old Deb Drewniak in August, 2011, as Drewniak was walking her dog in the dark in Colchester.
On Tuesday, the families of both the driver and the victim discussed the Viera’s remorse and appropriate jail time. The Burlington Free Press reports ( ) that both families said Vieira expressed remorse but they had different opinions about whether she should serve time in jail.
Judge Michael Kupersmith sentenced Vieira to 30 days in jail, five months home confinement and five years of probation.

Burlington Council supports ban on assault rifles

BURLINGTON— The Burlington City Council is supporting a proposed ban on assault rifles and multiple ammunition clips in the city.
The resolution passed the Council on a 10-3 vote Monday night. It was proposed by council member Norm Blais in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,  last month.
The resolution was met with opposition by gun owners, hunters and others in Contois Auditorium, advocating that the city do more to actively support responsible gun ownership.
The resolution would need to go before a committee, eventually be voted on by the public and then sent to the Legislature before it could be approved.