Vermont State Police Log: Monkton resident arraigned on hundreds of counts

ADDISON COUNTY — Deaths and fires mixed in with other alleged illegal activity to make it quite a busy week for Vermont State Police operating out of the New Haven barracks.

On Thursday, June 1, troopers and eight area fire departments responded to a fire on Route 7 in North Ferrisburgh at around 11 p.m. Police said a tanker truck hauling natural gas exploded. But no one was hurt. See full story on Page 2A.

On Sunday, June 4, at a little before 10 p.m., state police were alerted to a shooting at a Leicester home on Route 7 just north of Fern Lake Road. One man was killed and his brother was critically injured. See full story on Page 2A.

That followed a non-suspicious death a day earlier. On Saturday, June 3, at a quarter past 8 p.m. state police got a call about a different death in Leicester. Police report that a 74-year-old woman died near the entrance to a sand pit of Delorm Road. After determining that the death was not suspicious and there was no cause for public concern, police sent the woman’s body for autopsy at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington. 

Investigation into this death is ongoing. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Det. Cpl. Steven Gelder at the New Haven barracks at 802-388-4919.

Meanwhile, state police began a series of encounters with 68-year-old John Gargano of Monkton on May 26. Police said that a little after 5 a.m. that day they responded to North Camp Road in Monkton for a trespassing complaint. Troopers said they found that Gargano had trespassed on several properties on that road, which was a violation of several active court orders. Further, Gargano allegedly damaged each of the properties by driving his vehicle across them.

Police also found that Gargano had several warrants for his arrest stemming from previous incidents at the same location.

State police officers made numerous attempts to apprehend Gargano that week. Then, on June 2, with mental health clinicians, police executed a search warrant of Gargano’s residence and took him into custody. Police processed him at the barracks, then took him to the courthouse in Middlebury to answer the charges of felony unlawful mischief (two counts), unlawful mischief, violation of conditions of release (two counts), violating a stalking order (two counts), unlawful trespass, disorderly conduct, and driving with a criminally suspended license. 

At the same hearing, Gargano was also arraigned on several other pending charges against him from a May 23 incident in the same neighborhood. The charges were violation of an abuse prevention order, unlawful trespassing, negligent driving, grossly negligent driving, attempting to elude a police officer, impeding a police officer and resisting arrest.

Authorities jailed Gargano at the Marble Valley Correctional Facility in Rutland.

While he was in custody there, police cited him for earlier incidents. Stemming from calls to police on May 16 and May 25 from North Camp Road, Gargano was cited for four counts of violating a stalking order, six counts of violating conditions of release, and two counts of trespassing.

But police weren’t done with Gargano yet.

Also on Saturday, police cited Gargano for 527 counts of violation of conditions of release. Police alleged that between May 27 and June 2, Gargano called and harassed state and local police department dispatchers — a total of 527 times.

In other recent activity, troopers on June 2 at around 8:30 p.m. responded to a domestic disturbance in Ferrisburgh. State police took Dana M. Bent, 30, of Ferrisburgh into custody and cited him for domestic assault, committing an offense in the presence of a child, and cruelty to a child. 

Separately on June 3 just before 10 p.m., state police stopped a vehicle on Court Street near Middle Road in Middlebury. The trooper said Eric Heller, 67, of Monkton looked impaired but he refused to provide a breath sample, so he was cited for driving under the influence, test refusal. He is due to answer the charge in Addison Superior Court, criminal division, on June 19.

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