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Vermont State Police Log: Man killed after crossing into path of tractor-trailer

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Posted on September 12, 2013 |
By Addison Independent



ADDISON COUNTY — A Panton man was behind the wheel of a big rig that was involved in an accident in Cavendish on Monday evening that resulted in the death of the other driver.

Vermont State Police, along with Chester police and fire and rescue squads from Proctorsville and Ludlow, responded to a two-vehicle collision on Route 103 a quarter of a mile south of the intersection with Route 131 at around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Police report that 29-year-old Brenton Stilwell of Ludlow was northbound on Route 103 in a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee when he drifted over the yellow center line and collided with a southbound 2007 International 9900I tractor-trailer truck driven by Robert Morris, 52, of Panton. The trooper said it appears that Stilwell was not wearing his seatbelt and he was ejected from his vehicle. The rescue squad took Stilwell to the Springfield Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. His Jeep was a total loss.

Morris sustained no injures in this crash but was transported to Springfield Hospital to be checked as a precaution.

Police report that the weather was cloudy and the road condition was good, and on Tuesday they were still investigating why Stilwell’s vehicle crossed the center line.

Separately, a crash involving a motorcycle and two bicycles in Ripton on Sept. 8 sent two of the cyclists to the hospital.

Troopers report that David A. Green, 55, of Somerville, Mass., was driving a 2013 Victory Judge motorcycle westbound on Route 125 at 12:47 p.m. this past Sunday; he was the last rider in a small group. Green entered a sharp left curve and lost control of his cruiser-style motorcycle, laid the motorcycle down and slid into two bicyclists who were in a pack of three also traveling westbound on 125 through the curve.

The motorcycle rider and two of the bicyclists were ejected from their bikes. One of the bicyclists — Kai Wiggins, 19, of East Greenwich, R.I. — was thrown over a guard rail and rolled partially down an embankment.

The Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association transported Green and one of the bicyclists — 19-year-old Jake Barker of Steamboat Springs, Colo. — to Porter Hospital in Middlebury, where the motorcycle rider was treated for contusions and scrapes and the bicyclist was treated for a lacerated left hand and possible fracture.

Wiggins, the other bicyclist, suffered scrapes to his arm and a non-incapacitating back injury.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Ripton Fire Department and MVAA.

Trooper Andrew Leise issued Green a ticket for exceeding the speed limit, which carries a fine of $220 and four points on his license, which affects insurance costs. Leise explained that the statute demands that a driver maintain control of his vehicle for the road conditions, not just maintain the posted speed limit. Leise said the posted limit in this stretch of Route 124 in Ripton is 35 mph, but the recommended speed, which is highlighted by a yellow sign, is 20 mph due to the steep downhill grade and very sharp curves. Green told the trooper he was driving 35 mph and the bicyclists indicated they were riding their bikes down the hill at 30-35 mph.

Trooper Leise urged drivers and bikers to take extreme care in the portion of Route 125 in Ripton with sharp turns and steep descents as there have been “a significant number of motorcycle collisions through the years during summer riding months.

“We would like to see fewer motorcycle collisions in the area,” Leise continued. “The recommended speed of 20 mph is a safer speed to be traveling at through the sharp switchback curves.”

In other recent activity, VSP:

•  On Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. cited Coty Duso, 20, of Starksboro for simple assault after he allegedly punched a Burlington man in the face at a Howard Center-run residence off Route 116 in Starksboro.

•  On Sept. 4 responded to a report that someone had entered a home on Quaker Village Road in Weybridge sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 5:25 p.m. on Sept. 4. The complainant said the burglar stole various items. Anyone with information is asked to contact VSP at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or by texting “CRIMES” (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.

•  On Sept. 7 at 5:02 p.m. responded to a motor vehicle crash in which a Chevy Silverado pickup struck a utility pole on Town Hill Road in Goshen. Police said the driver, identified as 27-year-old Joseph Gearwar of Leicester, fled on foot into the woods. A police canine was used to track Gearwar, who was subsequently arrested and processed for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. Gearwar was released on a citation to appear in Addison District Court on Sept. 23. The truck was a total loss. Brandon police and Rutland city police assisted on the scene.

•  Began investigating the theft of items from a motor vehicle parked in the Silver Lake parking lot in Goshen. The victim reported that the theft occurred while he was away from his vehicle from approximately 1 p.m. on Sept. 7 and 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 8. Anyone with information is asked to contact VSP.

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