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Vermont State Police Log: Marijuana may have contributed to Field Days crash

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Posted on November 21, 2017 |
By Addison Independent



ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police on this past Friday reported that the driver of a car that crashed while carrying workers to Addison County Fair and Field Days this past Aug. 7 may have been high on marijuana.

On Nov. 16, VSP said they had concluded their investigation into the two-vehicle crash on Route 22A in Bridport that killed driver Steven Holmes, 20, of Chatsworth, Ga.; and passengers Jennifer N. Valdez, 34, of Westerville, Ohio; Amber Brewer, 19, of Dalton, Ga.; and Justin Hendrix, 38, of Bryceville, Fla. Police reported that the four were driving northbound early that afternoon when their 2001 Volkswagen Beetle crossed the center line and struck, head-on, a pickup truck, whose two occupants were treated at UVM Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries.

Investigators were unable to determine exactly why the VW driven by Holmes crossed the centerline, but police said that based on witness statements and the manner of which the crash took place, speed and fatigue may have been contributing factors. Also, toxicology tests showed that Homes had a high concentration of Delta-9 THC in a post mortem blood sample. Delta-9 THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive compound that is found in marijuana, and police said it impairs driving skills.

“Due to the elevated levels of Delta-9 THC found in (Homes’) toxicology results, marijuana impairment may have also been a contributory factor in the cause of this collision,” said a press release sent by Trooper Eden Neary.

All four individuals who died were employees of Dreamland Amusements, the company contracted to run amusement rides at Field Days, which opened a five-day run in New Haven the next day.

In other recent activity, Vermont State Police:

•  On Nov. 14 investigated a one-car crash on Route 22A in Orwell. Police report that Deborah Jones, 54, of Cabot was driving a 2001 Subaru Outback southbound on 22A when the car crossed the center line, left the roadway, struck multiple trees and fencing and rolled over before coming to an uncontrolled stop off the roadway. Fire, rescue and police responded to the scene to assist. Investigation is pending as state police await the results of an evidentiary blood test kit. Jones was taken to Porter Hospital for treatment of minor injuries; her car was a total loss.

•  On Nov. 15 during the morning conducted a saturation patrol on Route in Salisbury and on Route 22A in Shoreham, Bridport and Panton. The purpose of the patrols was to focus on stopping speeders and drivers using hand-held devices while driving, ensure seatbelt use and promote driver safety and education. As a result of the patrol, police stopped 10 vehicles and issued several traffic tickets and several written warnings. In addition, police took driver Ethan Newton, 26, of Salisbury into custody and cited him for driving with a criminally suspended license.

These high visibility patrols will be continuing throughout the Addison County area in an effort to improve safety on public roads, troopers said.

•  On Nov. 15 at approximately 6:10 p.m. stopped a vehicle driven by Japheth Kehoe, 33, of Weybridge on Middlebury’s Weybridge Street for a defective exhaust. State police cited Kehoe for driving with a criminally suspended license and violation of conditions of release.

•  On Nov. 15 at approximately 8:48 p.m. responded to one-car crash on Route 116 near Route 17. Police report that Cassandra Chasse, 26, of Bristol was speeding when she crashed, totaling her 2015 Subaru Legacy and causing a minor knee injury. Police cited Chasse for careless and negligent driving and speeding. She was treated at Porter Hospital.

•  On Nov. 16 at around 8 p.m. stopped a vehicle driven by Amanda Rubin, 32, of Salisbury on Three Mile Bridge Road after observing a motor vehicle violation. Police arrested Rubin and cited her for possession of heroin and cocaine.

•  On Nov. 17 at a little past 8 p.m. were notified of a motor vehicle crash involving a farm tractor and a car on Route 22A in Addison.

Police said Amadi Nwosu, 28, of Albany, N.Y., was driving a Kia Optima behind a New Holland tractor driven by Benjamin Veldmam, 36, of Addison when he failed to slow down when Veldmam put on his turn signal and began to turn left into a driveway. The Kia ran into the back of the tractor.

Nwosu and his passenger were treated and released on scene by rescue for minor bumps and bruising. Their vehicle was towed from the scene. Veldmam was not injured and drove his farm tractor from the scene.

•  On Nov. 18 at approximately 1:25 p.m. stopped a vehicle driven by Anoki Thompson, 36, of Salisbury and cited him for driving with a criminally suspended license.

•  On Nov. 18 at approximately 4:19 p.m. responded to a crash on Plank Road in Bristol. Police report that a Chevy S-10 pickup driven by 19-year-old Mitchell Palmer of Bristol left the road and overturned. Palmer sustained a laceration to his right hand, but neither passenger was injured. Police issued Palmer a ticket for “unreasonable and imprudent speed for conditions and hazards.”

•  On Nov. 19 at 12:45 p.m. went to Route 125 in Hancock for a report of a vehicle off the road with damage. Upon arrival troopers observed extremely poor travel conditions and multiple vehicles off the road. Travel on Route 125 was limited for a short period to allow Department of Transportation trucks to clear the road of snow and ice and for the safe removal of all vehicles. No injuries resulted from the vehicles going off the road.

•  On Nov. 19 at approximately 5 p.m. looked into to a reported assault that took place at an Orwell home. After investigating, state police cited Nicholas Mobilio, 25, of Astoria, N.Y., for aggravated domestic assault.

•  On Nov. 19 at approximately 5:27 p.m. went to a one-car crash on Upper Notch Road in Bristol. Police said a deer dashed in front of a car driven by Lohak Vonatzingen, 18, of Starksboro, and Vonatzingen swerved to miss the animal and lost control of his Subaru when his right tires exited the roadway and contacted the soft shoulder. The car continued off the roadway and travelled over a large boulder before coming to rest against a large tree.

Vonatzingen was not injured in the crash. Neither speed nor impairment were factors in the crash, police said.

Vermont State Police release a daily log of a selection of their activities. In Addison County, those activities included:

•  Nov. 14, fraud, Dart Hill, Monkton.

•  Nov. 14, citizen assist, Halpin Road, New Haven.

•  Nov. 16, crash, Route 125, Ripton.

•  Nov. 16, vandalism, Greenbush Road, Ferrisburgh.

•  Nov. 16, family disturbance, Hardscrabble Road, Bristol.

•  Nov. 16, fraud, Blaises Mobile Home Park, Bristol.

•  Nov. 16, lost and found property, Quaker Street, Lincoln.

•  Nov. 16, fraud, Basin Harbor Road, Ferrisburgh.

•  Nov. 16, consent search, Maecliff Court and Cady Road, Middlebury.

•  Nov. 17, suspicions person, Hooker Road, Leicester.

•  Nov. 17, vandalism Hollow Road, Monkton.

•  Nov. 17, littering, Smead Road, Salisbury.

•  Nov. 17, citizen dispute, Jersey Street, Ferrisburgh.

•  Nov. 17, agency assist, Dean Road, Ferrisburgh.

•  Nov. 17, citizen assist, Woodland Drive, Bristol.

•  Nov. 17, false alarm, West Street, Cornwall.

•  Nov. 18, suspicious person, Monkton Road, Monkton.

•  Nov. 18, threatening, Route 7, Ferrisburgh.

•  Nov. 18, citizen assist, Perkins Road, Weybridge.

•  Nov. 19, animal problem, Sheep Farm Road, Weybridge.

•  Nov. 19, traffic crash, Route 22A, Shoreham.

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