Thief steals car, totals it flying into a car lot
VERGENNES — A Vergennes man faces multiple charges after an airborne early-morning accident on Saturday that Vergennes police said totaled three vehicles, including a car and a minivan parked at Denecker Chevrolet on North Main Street as well as the driver’s car, and badly damaged another car on the lot.
Police said that a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier allegedly driven and stolen by Donald Blanchard III was northbound on North Main Street at about 2:45 a.m., left the roadway, went through the Vergennes Animal Hospital parking lot, traveled up an 86-foot-slope, and flew through the air 81 feet before hitting nose-first.
Once the car landed, police said, it spun around on the ground and started to do dominoes-like damage. First, the Cavalier’s rear end crunched a new Chevrolet Cruze, totaling that vehicle and knocking it into a Chevrolet Uplander. That impact totaled the Uplander and knocked it into a Volkswagen Beetle, damaging that car.
When police arrived, they found the Cavalier badly damaged with its airbags deployed, but no driver. Police said, however, that shortly afterward they stopped another car for a moving violation on South Maple Street, and Blanchard was a passenger. At that point, they took him into custody. Police said he was treated at Porter Hospital for “a few scrapes” and bruises, but was otherwise unhurt.
The Cavalier was registered to another party at Blanchard’s Green Street home, police said, and Blanchard faces the following charges:
• Aggravated operation of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.
• Careless and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
• Leaving the scene of an accident.
• Driving under the influence of alcohol. Police allege that Blanchard’s blood-alcohol content tested at 0.123 percent at about 6 a.m., roughly three hours after the accident. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.
Blanchard, who was lodged at the Chittenden County Correctional Center, was also wanted on an outstanding Chittenden County warrant, police said.