Vergennes Police Log: City cops deal with many drunk drivers

VERGENNES — Late last week Vergennes police dealt with several incidents of drivers impaired by alcohol and/or either impaired by or possessing drugs.
On Thanksgiving Day, police cited Joshua Benning, 18, of Waltham for driving under the influence of alcohol, consumption of alcohol by a minor, possession of what they alleged was 2.4 grams of marijuana, and failure to stop at a traffic light. Police said they stopped Benning’s car after they saw it fail to stop at a red light at the intersection of Monkton Road and Route 7. They alleged his blood-alcohol tested at 0.074 percent back at the station, under the legal limit of 0.08, but that he failed roadside testing.
The next day, Nov. 28, police searched unsuccessfully for a liquor store patron that employees believe was driving while intoxicated.
On Nov. 29, Vergennes police cited James Helak, 41, of Brandon for DUI and failure to use his turn signal after stopping his vehicle at the intersection of New Haven Road and Route 7. Police alleged his blood alcohol content tested at 0.102.
That same day city police issued court diversion paperwork to the driver of a car stopped for speeding on West Main Street. The driver was ticketed for speed and given diversion paperwork for possession of 6 grams of marijuana and a smaller amount of hashish found in the car. Police also found pills that are being tested, and they said further charges are possible.
On Sunday, Nov. 30, police cited Jennifer Hecker, 27, of Oceanside, N.Y., for speeding, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after stopping her car for traveling 52 mph in a 25 mph Main Street zone.
Police said Hecker gave them a small amount of marijuana on her person, but refused to allow a search of her vehicle, after which police impounded it. Police also called the Vermont State Police Drug Recognition Expert to evaluate whether Hecker was operating while impaired, and that it was ruled she was OK to drive at the time the test was administered.
Vergennes police also want to remind residents and visitors that the city’s wintertime ban on parking on city streets between 2 and 6:30 a.m. took effect on Monday and will remain in effect until March. Cars parked on the street overnight are subject to being ticketed and towed.
In other incidents between Nov. 24 and 30, Vergennes police:
•  On Nov. 24 directed traffic around a disabled tractor-trailer unit near the Otter Creek bridge.
•  On Nov. 25 helped VSP with an accident at the intersection of Route 7 and Old Hollow Road.
•  On Nov. 25 helped a resident who reported the theft of prescription drugs in Franklin, Mass., contact police in that town.
•  On Nov. 25 conducted background checks on behalf of the state’s attorney’s office.
•  On Nov. 25 cited Meagan Roy, 26, of Burlington for driving with a suspended license, criminal offense, after stopping her car for defective equipment on Main Street.
•  On Nov. 26 went to a First Street residence and calmed an out-of-control juvenile who had caused a minor injury to a sibling; police referred the situation to the Department of Children and Families and the Counseling Service of Addison County.
•  On Nov. 26 and 27 dealt with several accidents caused by the mid-week snowstorm: a car off the surface of Route 22A south of Vergennes, a tractor-trailer unit that slid off the road near the intersection of Routes 7 and 22A, a two-car collision at the intersection of Route 7 and Satterly Road in Ferrisburgh, and a minor incident on East Street in which a city plow scratched a parked car.
•  On Nov. 27 helped a motorist get into a locked car in the Shaw’s Supermarket parking lot.
•  On Nov. 27 went to an East Street apartment along with the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad to help a woman who had apparently overdosed on pills and liquor; VARS took her to Porter Hospital.
•  On Nov. 27 calmed two women engaged in a Facebook spat about possession of a chair and wireless speakers after receiving a complaint from one that she was being threatened.
•  On Nov. 27 responded along with VARS to a suicide attempt at a Second Street residence; police said a woman who had been drinking had cut her wrists, and VARS took her to Porter Hospital, accompanied by an officer.
•  On Nov. 29 found a purse on Green Street and learned it had been taken from a car there and that it was missing cash.
•  On Nov. 29 told a woman making threatening phone calls to a Comfort Hill resident to stop.

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