Driver killed in collision with horse trailer

HARTFORD — A Vermont woman has died after her car collided with a semi-truck pulling a horse trailer on Route 4 in Hartford.
Police said 40-year-old Patience Hutt of Woodstock was driving west and collided about 4 p.m. Thursday with an Equine Express horse trailer heading east.
The Valley News reports ( no animals were in the trailer.
The driver of the semi-truck and his passenger were not injured. Another vehicle that had been driving behind the car  was clipped by the horse trailer and its occupants witnessed the collision. They were not hurt.

Forest Service seeks help finding culprit in Winhall fire

PHOTO PROVIDED The US Forest Service is seeking help in finding out who or what may have caused this fire in Winhall on May 7.

The US Forest Service is seeking help in finding out who or what may have caused this fire in Winhall on May 7.



The U.S. Forest Service is looking for help figuring out the cause of a forest fire that happened on during the evening of May 7. The fire was in the Green Mountain National Forest near the intersection of Route 30 and Route 11 in Winhall, Vermont. U.S. Forest Service law enforcement is investigating the cause of the fire and is seeking the public’s help. Please contact Forest Service law enforcement at 802-747-6797 with any information.


Vt reaches deal with company over trademark claims

MONTPELIER — The Vermont attorney general’s office says it has settled complaints that a Los Angeles company sent mailings to Vermont companies that appeared to be bills.

The state says Trademark Monitoring Services, Inc., mailed solicitations to Vermont businesses that misrepresented that the businesses owed it money for trademark-related services.

Attorney General William Sorrell says billing people for things they didn’t agree to buy is a violation of state law.

Under the settlement, the company must comply with Vermont and federal law regulating through-the mail offers and pay full refunds and $10,000 to the state of Vermont in penalties and costs.

Sorrell’s office says it received a number of complaints from individuals and businesses concerning unauthorized billings by out-of-state companies.


VIDEO: Black River students learn the dangers of texting and driving firsthand

Vermonter offers burial plot for Boston bomber Tsarnaev

HARTFORD — A retired Vermont teacher has offered a spot in his family’s cemetery plot to the family of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died following a shootout with police.
Paul Keane made the offer Monday on his blog.
He says the only condition he would attach to allowing the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be interred in the plot in the Mount Carmel Burying Ground in Hamden, Conn., is that it be done in the memory of his mother.
The Valley News of Lebanon, N.H., ( ) report’s Keane says his mother taught him to “love thine enemy.”
The Massachusetts funeral director handling Tsarnaev’s remains has been unable to find a cemetery where he could be buried. Tsarnaev’s family has received a number of offers of cemetery plots.

Hunter receives deferred sentence for shooting friend

NEWPORT — A Vermont man who accidentally shot his friend while hunting bear in 2011 has received a deferred sentence after pleading no contest to aggravated assault.
The Caledonian-Record reports ( Conrad Masse of Craftsbury will see the felony expunged from his record if he stays out of trouble for the next 18 months. The maximum sentence is 15 years in jail.
The 78-year-old Masse shot a bear, but also shot Wayne Goff as they hunted in Albany. The bullet entered Goff’s body near his waistline on the right side, traveled through his body, and exited just above his left buttock.
Masse’s lawyer said as part of the plea agreement, Masse will cooperate with insurance companies in resolving a matter in civil court. He said Goff has made a nearly full recovery.

National Guard training sparks small wildfires

BURLINGTON — The Vermont Army National Guard is monitoring some ongoing small fires at the forested Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho that flared up during training exercises last weekend.
Capt. Chris Gookin of the guard tells the Burlington Free Press ( the fires are contained and helicopter support is available to douse them with water if needed.
He said the fires were sparked by the use of munitions and small arms during weekend training. He said none of the fires had gotten out of control. Some have been put out, and some have flared up again.

Bennington man pleads guilty to taking $171k from estate

BRATTLEBORO — Federal prosecutors in Vermont say a 43-year-old Bennington man has pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled $171,000 from a woman’s estate that he had been managing.
Robert Baker pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Brattleboro to a wire fraud charge.
Prosecutors say that between September 2011 and January 2012, Baker misappropriated about $171,000 from the estate of Nada Ledinko, who died in July 2011.
As part of a plea agreement, Baker agreed to liquidate his personal brokerage account and turn all of the proceeds over to the administrator who has been appointed for the estate.
He was released on conditions. Sentencing is set for September.

Tractor-trailer crash snarls traffic on I-89

COLCHESTER — Vermont State Police say a tractor-trailer crash on southbound Interstate 89 backed up morning traffic for a while.
The accident happened Wednesday morning near Colchester.
State police say the accident happened south of Exit 17. Traffic at one point was backed up all the way past the exit.
The accident scene was cleaned up and traffic started flowing normally by about 7:30 a.m.
The details of the accident weren’t immediately known or whether anyone was hurt.

Driving ban often seen after fatalities

By Brent Curtis

When prosecutors allowed a Rutland man to continue to drive after charging him with causing a fatal hit-and-run crash, they took a different route than prosecutors in some other cases.

After Christopher Sullivan pleaded innocent Thursday to charges of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, assistant attorney generals involved in the case asked the judge to impose a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond. They also obtained a condition barring the former City Hall legal counsel from drinking or possessing alcohol, as well as a condition that he allow police to administer random breath tests at his home.

But absent from the list of court-ordered conditions common for serious vehicular offenses was condition 7, which reads “You cannot drive any motor vehicle including a car, truck or motorcycle.”

That condition can be found in a number of vehicular homicides in RutlandCounty, including the case against Alex W. Spanos, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Carly Ferro.

In a 2007 hit-and-run case against Brent V. Poczobut, a Fair Haven man charged with gross negligent operation, fatality resulting, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash in the death of Paul Delorenzi, county prosecutors asked for and received a condition 7.

In the 1995 case against Tammy Davis, charged and later convicted of careless and negligent operation in a Fair Haven crash that killed Alden “Jaime” Atwood, 21, of Fair Haven, the no-driving condition was imposed.

The condition was also asked for and granted in a nonfatal crash in 2007 that seriously injured a motorcyclist Scott Allen, who was struck from behind by Ashlee Ellis. 

Ellis, who said she was distracted by a dog in the car with her when the crash took place, was eventually acquitted of a felony charge of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle, but found guilty of a misdemeanor negligence charge.

More recently, the condition was imposed in a Windsor County case against Joshua Ouimette, 26, of Rutland, who has pleaded innocent to two counts of grossly negligent operation with death resulting. Ouimette was one of the drivers in a head-on crash on Route 4 in Bridgewater in January 2004.

In a case that didn’t involve a crash or injuries last month, Annika Green, a former lawyer who worked for the state Department of Public Safety, was ordered by a WashingtonCounty criminal court judge not to drive after her arraignment this week on a misdemeanor charge of drinking and driving, first offense.

But in the case against Sullivan, accused of driving drunk when he ran down 71-year-old Jane Outslay last month, the condition doesn’t appear.

Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire declined to discuss the reason for the lack of a condition 7 while talking with the media outside the Rutland criminal courthouse Thursday. Neither Maguire nor Attorney General William Sorrell could be reached Friday afternoon.

Defense attorneys said the absence of a driving prohibition in vehicular homicides isn’t unusual.

David Sleigh, a St. Johnsbury attorney who has defended many drunken driving and vehicular homicide cases, said his present caseload includes six motor vehicle cases involving the death of another person. Four of those clients are prohibited from driving, he said. The other two are not.

“It’s a combination of deviations from the standards of care that go into those decisions,” he said. “Certainly alcohol is an aggravating factor.”

But Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said that in vehicular homicide and drunken driving offenses he handles, requests for the driving prohibition are common.

“I think it’s a typical condition request in these types of cases,” he said. “You don’t want people engaging in the type of conduct they’re charged with.”

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