UPDATE: Two injured when SUV slams into Middlebury police cruisers
MIDDLEBURY — Two people ended up in the hospital Monday night after a car driven on Case Street by an East Middlebury man crashed into two Middlebury police cruisers that were responding to a call on Mead Lane.
Officer Kevin Emilio and Patrick Chaffee, 40, of East Middlebury were taken to Porter Hospital; neither suffered life-threatening injuries. The third driver involved in the crash, Officer Connor Sousa, was unhurt.
Emilio was discharged from Porter Hospital on Wednesday after enduring at least one surgery to repair a broken ankle, and 12 stiches in his head. He was reported to be in fair condition; and second surgery was anticipated.
Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley and Vermont State Police Sgt. Matt Daley in separate reports described how shortly before 9 p.m. on May 7, the two Middlebury officers were en route in separate police cars to a domestic disturbance report at a Mead Lane home. While the two police cars were driving northbound with their flashing blue lights illuminated on Case Street, also known as Route 116, a southbound Dodge Durango SUV struck the rear driver’s side of the lead police car, driven by Officer Sousa, 28. The Durango spun counterclockwise, went sideways into the northbound lane and was struck by the following police car, driven by Officer Emilio, 37.
The crash occurred near the south entrance to Mead Lane, about a tenth of a mile north of Quarry Road.
The first police car sustained extensive damage to the left rear section, the second police car sustained extensive damage to the front of the car. Photos posted online showed that the front of Officer Emilio’s car crunched up into the passenger compartment. Officer Emilio incurred injuries to his face and a broken ankle and was transported to Porter Hospital by Middlebury Regional Emergency Medical Service.
Middlebury Regional EMS first responders extricated Chaffee from the Durango and took him to Porter Hospital for treatment of apparent non-life threatening injuries. He was released by 8:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.
State police said drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.
All three drivers were wearing their seatbelts. The Durango and one Middlebury police car were totaled. Middlebury and Bristol firefighters, and the Bristol Rescue Squad provided assistance at the scene.
The accident is under investigation by the Vermont State Police.
State police troopers also responded to the domestic dispute once the Middlebury officers were out of action. Sgt. Daley said no arrests were made in that case.
Chief Hanley said the Middlebury Police Department currently has three marked cruisers for patrol, a K-9 car and a police car for the School Resource Officer (SRO). The department also has a new cruiser on order; it was currently being outfitted at G Stone Motors and will get the force back to its usual compliment of four cruisers for patrol plus the K-9 and SRO cruisers.
“With the loss of two patrol cars we be using the SRO car for patrol, the car that I use will be diverted to patrol as needed,” Hanley said. “Once the accident investigation is complete we will deal with insurance and replacement car issues.”
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