Category Archives: Springfield

News and Events in and around Springfield, Vermont.

Intoxicated woman crashes car on I-91 with two kids inside, police say

STAFF REPORT
A New Hampshire woman is facing multiple charges after police say she drove her car off Interstate 91 in Springfield Sunday night while intoxicated, with two young children in the car.
Katie E. Schulenberger, 26, of Langdon, N.H., was charged with DUI-accident resulting, child endangerment, careless and negligent operation with serious injury, and criminal driving on a suspended license, after, police say, the car she was driving went off the Interstate into the median at about 9:45 p.m., went partially airborne and hit a tree roof first.
Schulenberger was partially ejected through the sun roof. A four year old boy was partially ejected out the rear window; a five year old girl was pinned under the roof in the back seat, police said.
Neither of the children were wearing seatbelts, and rescue crews from the Springfield and Ascutney Fire Departments, along with Golden Cross Ambulance spent roughly 45 minutes extracting the three people in the car, all of whom are expected to live.
All three were taken to Darmouth Hitchock Medical Center, Schulenberger by helicopter; one child sustained a compound fracture to the foot, police said.
State troopers went to Dartmouth Hitchock to continue investigating the crash and there found Schulenberger to be intoxicated, and cited her to appear in Windsor County criminal court.

Arrest warrant issued for James Robarge in connection with murder of Kelly Robarge

New Hampshire officials have issued an arrest warrant for James Robarge, the husband of Kelly Robarge, 42, of Charlestown, N.H. - and who worked in Springfield, Vt. - in connection with the murder of his wife. Her body was found Saturday after an extensive search effort lasting more than a week, and an autopsy determined her death was caused by violence of undetermined means.

The warrant for James Robarge is on one count of Reckless Second Degree Murder. The charge alleges that Robarge recklessly caused the death of his wife on June 27, 2013, in Charlestown, New Hampshire, by inflicting trauma to her body, under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, according to a press release issued by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.

James Robarge is currently being held at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on unrelated motor vehicle charges. Vermont State Police have charged Robarge with being a fugitive from justice and he will be arraigned on that charge in Windham District Court in Brattleboro, Vermont at 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. today. This will initiate the extradition process to return Robarge to New Hampshire to face the murder charge.

Kelly Robarge disappeared under suspicious circumstances on June 27, 2013. An extensive search for her body began that day and ended on July 6, when members of the Fish and Game Department found her in the woods off of Britton Road in Unity, New Hampshire. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Duval confirmed the identity of the body at autopsy today. Dr. Duval also determined that the cause of Kelly Robarge’s death was homicidal violence by undetermined means. The manner of her death was determined to be homicide.

The investigation is continuing.

Springfield woman ID’d as victim in fatal motorcycle crash

Staff Report
AMSDEN — Vermont State Police have identified the victim of a fatal car-motorcycle accident Friday evening on a curve on Route 131.
Jennifer Bixby, 33, of Springfield, died of her injuries sustained in the accident. She was a passenger on a motorcycle operated by Jeremy Desmarais, 39, also of Springfield.
Both Bixby and Desmarais were taken to Springfield Hospital, where Bixby died from her injuries, Desmarais suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to state police.
The driver of the car, Paul Cooper, 59, of Windham, N.H., was not injured in the accident. State police said Desmarais was westbound and Cooper eastbound at the time of the accident.
State police said that alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The accident is still under investigation, police said, and the accident reconstruction team was called in.

Staff Report
AMSDEN — Vermont State Police have identified the victim of a fatal car-motorcycle accident Friday evening on a curve on Route 131.
Jennifer Bixby, 33, of Springfield, died of her injuries sustained in the accident. She was a passenger on a motorcycle operated by Jeremy Desmarais, 39, also of Springfield.
Both Bixby and Desmarais were taken to Springfield Hospital, where Bixby died from her injuries, Desmarais suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to state police.
The driver of the car, Paul Cooper, 59, of Windham, N.H., was not injured in the accident. State police said Desmarais was westbound and Cooper eastbound at the time of the accident.
State police said that alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The accident is still under investigation, police said, and the accident reconstruction team was called in.

Large drug arrest sweep in Springfield area this morning

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Vermont State Police are planning to talk about a “large” drug arrest sweep in Springfield.
A news conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Springfield Fire Department.
Representatives from the state attorney general’s office, Department of Public Safety, Windsor County Sheriff’s Department and others are scheduled to attend.
Col. Tom L’Esperance of the state police said the agency is pleased to be coordinating with multiple law enforcement-agencies to combat the growing drug problem in Vermont.

The Rutland Herald has a reporter and photographer following these arrests as they happen; we will update as this story unfolds.

Fire destroys 7-unit building in Springfield

Len Emery photo Fire crews attend to the burned-out shell of an apartment building in Springfield Monday.

Len Emery photo
Fire crews attend to the burned-out shell of an apartment building in Springfield Monday.

SPRINGFIELD —  A fire in downtown Springfield early Monday morning left
seven families homeless.
The fire at 84 Valley Street was discovered around 2 a.m.
One person was reported to have minor injuries escaping the fire, which
was a large apartment building across from Precision Valley Pools. Fire crews from seven area towns helped battle the blaze. The Red Cross is on the scene and is helping residents of five of the seven apartments, including one family with five children, all under the age of 10.
Emergency assistance for lodging and food and clothing is being provided, the Red Cross said.
A spokesman at the Springfield Fire Department said crews were still at the scene, but that the fire was out.

Springfield fire kills 20,000 quail

SPRINGFIELD — A fire Wednesday morning at Cavendish Game Birds of
Vermont on Woodbury Road  killed 20,000 quail at the specialty food
producer.
No one was hurt during the fire at the farm, which was discovered by
owner Rick Thompson when an alarm on the farm’s power source to its
hatchery building went off.
Thompson said that the large barn, which housed the farm’s 20,000
breeder quail, was destroyed. But he said the barn was insured and that
his family would rebuild and get back in business as soon as they could.
About 14 people are employed at the farm’s two locations in
Springfield, including 10 at the farm’s quail-processing facility on
Paddock Road.
The fire also destroyed about 30 Berkshire pigs that the farm was
starting to raise.

Springfield superintendent steps down early

SPRINGFIELD - Scott Adnams, Springfield School Board Chairman, announced at a special School Board meeting on Tuesday that Superintendent Frank Perotti will take a leave of absence for the remainder of his contract which ends June 30.

According to a memorandum of understanding, Perotti’s leave of absence will begin March 1 and end June 30. He will receive his salary and benefits, the statement said.

During his leave of absence, Perotti may utilize his remaining paid leave except for 17 vacation days nor shall he be required to perform any administrative duties as superintendent.

Perotti is also authorized to attend the New England League of Middle Schools conference at the expense of the district and the School Board shall pay Perotti for 17 vacation days, according to the MOU.

Assistant Superintendent Zach McLaughlin was sworn in by the School Board as acting superintendent.

Perotti did not attend Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

- Christian Avard

‘We can’t arrest our way out of the drug problem’ - Springfield meets on drug issues

Judge Amy Davenport at Springfield community meeting

Christian Avard | Staff Photo
Judge Amy Davenport, chief administrative judge for Vermont’s trial courts, answers questions about the judicial system and how it handles drug-related crimes. A meeting was held at the Springfield town office on Monday to discuss the rise of drug-related crimes in Springfield. Looking on is Rep. Alice Emmons of Springfield

By Christian Avard | Staff Writer
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield town and state officials are doubling their efforts to prevent drug-related crimes in their local community.
Local, state, and law enforcement officials and residents met on Monday to discuss the growing concern of drug abuse, trafficking, gang recruitment and downtown shootings. The meeting was organized by State Rep. Alice Emmons of Springfield.
Community leaders are looking for solutions to make Springfield safe. Understanding how law enforcement handles drug related cases was a first step.
Judge Amy Davenport, chief administrative judge for Vermont’s trial courts, presented an overview on how judges make decisions. Rep. Emmons asked why aren’t individuals arrested for drug offenses supervised when they are released on bail?
Judge Davenport said unlike other states, Vermont does not offer pre-trial services to monitor individuals out on parole. Some examples of pre-trial services are substance abuse-related, such as the Sparrow Project, but resources are lacking and the courts can only do so much.
“We can impose 24-hour curfews. But we don’t have investigators that go and find out whether a person is where they are living during this period,” Davenport said. “What we hear at the court is what the police and the state attorney tells us and we make decisions based on the information we have.”
Landlords can play a role in informing local and state authorities and the State Attorney’s office. Although they are not available yet, Davenport said pre-trial services are being still considered in the Vermont court system.
Drug-related sentencing was also discussed. According to Davenport, judges look at the proportionality of the crime and whether it will deter future crimes from occurring.
She said people commit drug offenses for a variety of reasons and all factors are taken into consideration. But Springfield Select Board member Michael Knoras questioned the judge how people arrested in a major drug raid can be released back into the community and not be charged?
Knoras was referring to an Oct. 2 drug raid in Chester where 10 individuals (four from Vermont and six from New Jersey) were arrested. Police confiscated $30,000 in drugs, including 665 bags of heroin worth $20,000, 62.2 grams of crack cocaine, one gram of cocaine worth $6,200, 133 OxyContin pills worth $4,000, and $18,000 in cash.
Five out of the 10 suspects were released and felony trafficking charges were dropped, to Knoras’ surprise.
“They were known drug dealers. They have records 10 miles long in New Jersey,” Knoras said.
“The reasons why prosecutors decide to dismiss charges deal with how good the evidence is,” Davenport responded.
Keith Flynn, Department of Public Safety Commissioner, said there is no magic bullet stopping the supply and demand of drugs. Flynn, a former county prosecutor, said communities could approach the problem by education awareness, targeted drug investigations, treatment programs, and community coalition building.
Another key element is having a community that’s engaged and dedicated to fighting the problem over the long haul. According to Davenport and Flynn, Springfield is a town that’s committed to the fight.
“Just having this conversation is important. There are so many towns that don’t have these and take the initiative to understand the system,” Davenport said.
“The reality is we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem,” Flynn said. “Supply will continue because the drug dealers are business people. They’re coming here because they have identified a market. There’s a demand and they can meet it.”
Additional meetings will be scheduled for developing drug prevention strategies. No dates have been determined.
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rutlandherald.com

Man charged for driving child 40 miles in a tool box

SPRINGFIELD – A Bradford, N.H., man is facing a criminal charge after police said he put one of his children in a truck’s tool box during a drive from Bradford to Springfield, according to the Springfield Police Department.
Russell Johnson Sr., 42, of Bradford, was cited for cruelty by a person having custody over another on Nov. 14.
In a press release, police said Johnson picked up his three children while driving a single-bench pick-up truck. One of the children was put in the tool box that spans the bed of the pick-up while going from Bradford to Springfield.
Bradford is almost 40 miles from Springfield.
Police did not give any information about when the alleged incident occurred or about the age or gender of the child.
According to the press release, Johnson will be arraigned in Windsor criminal court on Jan. 8.

Springfield man pleads guilty to arson

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Vermont man has pleaded guilty to first-degree arson for his role in setting fire to his apartment building earlier this year.
Firefighters said the April fire in Springfield endangered the life of a mother and two children.
Steven Kuchta pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement in White River Junction on Tuesday. He agreed to serve a two-to-eight-year sentence in prison and pay for damage to the apartment complex.
The Eagle-Times reports (http://bit.ly/SrKmXO) the 48-year-old Kuchta initially denied starting the fire, but later said he made a mistake and started it by lighting a few pieces of paper with a lighter.
A police affidavit says Kuchta said he was stressed out because his daughter was leaving the state and he had no job or money.