Vermont State Police Log: Troopers search for lost hiker

ADDISON COUNTY — In addition to the typical traffic accidents and drunk driving incidents, Vermont State Police during the past week were involved in a couple incidents of direct support of the public.

Troopers looked into a report of a lost hiker in the Green Mountain National Forest on Oct. 10. At around 8:45 p.m. on that Tuesday, state police were notified by Michael Eastman that his son Thomas Eastman, 24, of Orwell was overdue for his return from a hike in  the area of Texas Falls Trail in Hancock. Thomas had left their home in Orwell at around noon that day. When Thomas hadn’t returned home by 7 p.m., Michael drove to the trailhead, where he located Thomas’s parked vehicle. Michael called 911 to report his son hadn’t returned from his hiking trip. 

State police search and rescue teams, Hancock Fire Department and Hancock Rescue responded and actively searched the area. Searches continued throughout the night but were unsuccessful. But at approximately 6:40 a.m., Thomas was located safely, walking along Route 100. Thomas advised he got lost north of the trailhead and eventually walked out to route 100, several miles from Texas Falls. Thomas was offered medical attention and advised he didn’t need to be evaluated. Thomas was provided a safe ride to his home by personnel on scene.

Then, on Oct. 11, troopers got a call just before noon notifying them of a 90-year-old missing from a Waltham home. Police report that Maurice Armell was last seen earlier the same day at 7:30 a.m. at his residence.  They didn’t consider this disappearance suspicious, but his family and law enforcement were concerned for his welfare. Armell was located safely before 5 p.m. that day.

In other recent activity, state police:

• On Oct. 10 at 10:50 a.m., responded to a report of a crash involving a train and two cars. Police reported that Nichole Rampone, 33, of Ferrisburgh was driving a 2019 Kia Sedona southbound on Route 7 and didn’t notice the flashing railroad signals or the 2021 VW Golf (which was already stopped at the crossing) in time to stop. In an attempt to avoid a collision with the VW, Rampone lurched right, and the front-driver’s side of her Kia struck the rear-passenger’s side of the Golf.

Rampone’s SUV’s front end struck the train, which was traveling east at less than 30 mph. This caused the Kia to spin counterclockwise resulting in its rear-end striking the left side of the train.

Rampone was taken to Porter Hospital by the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad for treatment of suspected minor injuries. The driver of the VW, 46-year-old Alexa Buskey of Ferrisburgh, was unhurt; no injuries were reported on the train.

The Kia was totaled, the VW damage was not characterized, and damage to the train was minor. Police cited Rampone for failing to honor the activated crossing lights, and she could face a $220 fine. A full story appeared in the Oct. 12 Independent.

• On Oct. 10 at 11:40 p.m., observed a traffic violation on Route 7 near Town Hill Road in New Haven and stopped the car. Police took Chloe A. Marin, 23, of Vergennes, to the Middlebury Police Department for an evaluation by a Drug Recognition Expert and cited her for driving under the influence of drugs.

• On Oct. 4, responded to a report of property stolen from a truck parked at a home on Bristol Road in Monkton. On Oct. 14, troopers located one of the stolen items, a vehicle programmer, in the possession of Todd LaFlam, 57, of Monkton. Police allege LaFlam had tried to sell the programmer on Facebook Marketplace for $250. Police cited LaFlam for receiving stolen property.

• On Oct. 14 at around 5:30 p.m., received the report of a citizen dispute at a Carlstrom Road home in Bristol. Troopers said an argument had taken place over a noise disturbance and disputed land. During the argument, Daniel Devoid, 30, of Bristol, allegedly struck Lorraine Jerome, 62, of Bristol and caused bodily injury. State police cited Devoid for simple assault.

Meanwhile, state police stationed at the New Haven barracks and other law enforcement agencies in Addison County will conduct DUI sobriety checkpoints during the months of October and November 2023. These checkpoints are focused on people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vermonters are urged to use a designated driver when necessary.

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