Vermont State Police log for 8/27: Rubbernecker hits first responder’s car

ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police are reminding motorists to yield and slow down when approaching crash scenes after a vehicle passing through a crash scene in Rutland last week sideswiped the vehicle of an Addison County first responder while he was giving aid. The rubbernecker’s own car rolled over as a result of the inattentiveness.
At a around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, state police responded to Route 7 just south of Carriage Run Road in the town of Rutland for a report of a vehicle off of the roadway.
Trooper Aron McNeil reported that 40-year-old Melissa Norris of Starksboro was driving a 2010 Nissan Altima northbound on Route 7 when the sun glare went into her eyes. Norris told police that a southbound car was entering her lane at the same time so she moved her vehicle to the right. Subsequently, her Nissan left the roadway, traversed down an embankment and continued for approximately 230 feet before it hit a group of trees, injuring Norris’s hand and wrist as a result of the impact.
Sandy Korda — a member of the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, Orwell Fire Department and Orwell Emergency Management — and Shawn Hendee of the Pittsford Fire Department were driving by the scene, and both stopped to render assistance. Korda activated the red lights and four-way emergency flashers on his 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and pulled to the east shoulder of the roadway. Both rescuers climbed down the embankment to help Norris.
Police said that while the rescuers were tending to Norris, 44-year-old Terrence Bassette of Brandon slowed his vehicle to look at the crash and rear-ended/side-swiped Korda’s Jeep, which was parked on the shoulder. Bassette’s vehicle, a 2004 Honda Element, rolled over onto the roadway after the impact, coming to rest on its driver’s side.
Bassette was able to climb out of his vehicle under his own power. He had scrapes and bruises on his body, but the full extent of his non-life-threatening injuries was unknown to Trooper McNeil.
Korda and Hendee, who were not injured, also provided medical assistance to Bassette after the crash. Proper seat belt use on the behalf of Bassette and Norris, combined with activated airbags prevented more serious injuries during this crash. Both Norris and Bassette were taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center.
All vehicles had to be towed from the scene due to disabling damage.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone who may have seen it is asked to contact Trooper Aron McNeil at the Rutland Barracks at 802-773-9101.
In other recent activity involving Addison County residents, state police:
• On Aug. 18 at approximately 3:20 p.m. looked into a report of a one-car crash on Smead Road in Salisbury. The 16-year-old driver from Ripton told state police that he was driving a Jeep Liberty on Smead Road at approximately 37 mph when he lost control of the car on the gravel. He attempted to recover control, but the vehicle overturned. State police do not believe alcohol or drugs played a factor in the collision. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and suffered minor cuts to the forehead and elbow; the Jeep was totaled. No charges were expected.
• On Aug. 18 at 8:31 p.m. responded to a one-car crash on Route 30 in Cornwall. The trooper saw a vehicle off the roadway and, after investigating, cited John R. Davignon, 35, of Waitsfield for driving under the influence of drugs and for possession of heroin.
• On Aug. 19 at approximately 7:53 a.m. received a report of a two-vehicle collision on Route 22A in Bridport. The 16-year-old driver of a Jeep Compass told police that she was driving northbound on Route 22A at approximately 50-55 mph, drinking coffee and didn’t notice that the Jeep Grand Cherokee in front of her had slowed down and was making a right turn. The youthful driver attempted to stop, but rear-ended the vehicle in front of her. The 36-year-old driver of the Grand Cherokee told the trooper that it didn’t appear that the vehicle behind him was slowing down as he slowed to make a right-hand turn, and the Jeep Compass rear-ended him. State police do not believe alcohol or drugs played a factor in the collision. The 16-year-old Bridport resident’s Jeep Compass sustained major damage, while the Grand Cherokee sustained moderate contact damage. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and no injuries were reported. No charges were filed.
• On Aug. 22 at 35 minutes past midnight stopped a car driven by 52-year-old Lincoln resident Stanley E. Mayo on South Street in Bristol for several alleged traffic infractions. A preliminary breath test showed that Mayo’s blood alcohol content was 0.184 percent; the legal limit for driving is 0.08. Police cited Mayo for driving under the influence.
• On Aug. 22 and 2 p.m. stopped a vehicle driven by Wallingford resident Jeremy J. Perkins, 27, on Route 7 in Salisbury for following too closely. Police cited Perkins for driving with a criminally suspended license.
• On Aug. 22 at approximately 7:50 p.m. stopped a motor vehicle driven by David Stetson, 62, of Middlebury on Pleasant View Terrance in Middlebury. Following standard field sobriety exercises, Stetson provided a breath sample that showed a blood alcohol content of 0.211. Police cited Stetson for DUI.
• On Aug. 22 at approximately 8:28 p.m. stopped a white, 1997 Jeep Cherokee driven by 43-year-old Lawrence Ritchie of Middlebury on Route 7 in Middlebury. Police cited Ritchie for driving the a suspended license.
• On Aug. 22 at 9:35 p.m. responded to a request to assist the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad at a medical call with a passenger of a vehicle who was suspected of having alcohol poisoning on Route 7 in New Haven. The trooper said that further investigation showed the driver of the vehicle, identified as Elizabeth A. Williams, 32, of Bridgeport, Conn., was driving under the influence of alcohol. A preliminary breath test showed that Williams’s blood alcohol content was 0.105 percent. Police cited Williams for DUI.
• On Aug. 22 at 10:25 p.m. stopped a car driven by Elizabeth Conley, 22, of Exeter, N.H., on South Street in Middlebury for a traffic infraction. A preliminary sample of Conley’s breath showed her blood alcohol content was 0.150 percent. Police cited her for DUI.
• On Aug. 24 at 10:44 p.m. responded to a one-car crash on Boro Hill Road in Monkton. Police report that Kendra L. Viens, 18, of Colchester was driving a 2004 Volvo westbound on Boro Hill and lost control while traveling around a corner on the gravel road. The Volvo traveled off the roadway and overturned in a culvert. Viens was transported to the UVM Medical Center to be treated for her injuries. The car was judged to be a total loss.
Vermont State Police noted this week that Labor Day is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk-driving crashes.
Troopers will be on the roads statewide for Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation CARE, to provide additional traffic enforcement over the final weeks of summer and the Labor Day weekend. Patrols and safety checkpoints will be based on a carefully focused analytical review of fatal crashes in Vermont.
“We’ve made great strides saving lives through enforcement, education, engineering safer roads and an improved ability to render medical aid immediately following a crash,” Lt. Garry Scott, Vermont State Police traffic safety commander, said in a press release. “However we have to work harder and more effectively in driving toward zero deaths on Vermont roadways.”
So far in 2015, Vermont has had 30 traffic-related deaths — 20 drivers, five passengers, one pedestrian, three bicyclists and one ATV occupant. And while our fatality numbers are down from previous years, one fatality, is one too many, Scott said. Of the 2015 fatalities, seven were suspected to be speeding, seven are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and seven were unbelted.
Lt. Scott asks that Vermonters take care this Labor Day to slow down, designate a sober driver, and buckle up for your safety, and for the safety of everyone on the roads.

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