Vermont State Police Log: Crash results in death, charges

CORRECTION: The Vermont State Police Log in the July 9 edition of the Addison Independent incorrectly identified the person who was cited for driving under the influence at the scene of a June 30 crash on South Lincoln Road. The trooper cited Russell G. Hill, 49, of Lincoln for DUI. We apologize for the attributing the citation to Anthony J. Rochon, who was not cited for DUI.

ADDISON COUNTY — A 72-year-old woman was killed Saturday afternoon when the car she was a passenger in was involved in a two-car crash on Route 7 in Salisbury.

Joan Dayton, 72, of Londonderry was declared deceased at Porter Hospital that afternoon.

Vermont State Police report that at around 1:13 p.m. on July 25, Brian Davidson, 37, of New Haven was driving a 2006 Cadillac DTS eastbound on West Salisbury Road toward Route 7 at what police described as “well over the posted speed limit.” Witnesses told police that Davidson’s Cadillac failed to stop at the stop sign and continued on into Route 7.

At that point, the Caddy plowed into a Chevrolet Equinox driven northbound on Route 7 by 77-year-old Center Merrill of Londonderry. Apparently, both vehicles spun and then came in contact a second time. They both came to a stop off the northbound shoulder — Merrill’s Equinox on the passenger side.

The Equinox became fully engulfed in flames.

Police report that bystanders were able to assist Merrill and his passenger, Dayton, out of the vehicle. 

When state police arrived, they found Davidson outside his vehicle with multiple non-life-threatening injuries. Middlebury Regional Emergency Medical Services took Davidson, Merrill and Dayton to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury. Dayton succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.

The Salisbury Fire Department and Middlebury Police Department assisted state police at the scene.

Troopers executed a search warrant of Davidson’s car on Sunday. They said they found several bags of suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

On Sunday police went to Davidson’s bedside at the University of Vermont Medical Center, where he was still a patient, and cited him for grossly negligent driving with death resulting. 

Police are still investigating this crash. Anyone who saw it is asked to contact Trooper Craig Hein at the New Haven State Police Barracks at 802-388-4919. Additional criminal charges may be forthcoming.

In other recent activity, troopers:

•  On July 22 announced that a day earlier the Addison County Sheriff's Department located Brittany Couture, 35, of Vergennes, who was wanted by state police investigating a March incident. Troopers said that on March 30 state police began looking into a retail theft at the Shoreham Service Center on Route 22A in Shoreham. Troopers investigated and alleged that Couture and a second person drove to the Service Center and stole two cartons of Marlboro cigarettes valued at $211.55.

Troopers made several attempts to locate Couture and were unsuccessful. Then the sheriff’s deputy located Couture during an unrelated court appearance. During that court appearance, Couture was given a citation to appear in Addison County Superior Court, Criminal Division, on Aug. 3 to answer a charge of retail theft stemming from the March 30 Shoreham Service Center incident.

•  On July 22 at approximately at 9:20 p.m. responded to a report that a utility terrain vehicle had driven off the road on Mason Hill North in Starksboro. Troopers ended up citing Jason Cousino, 43, of Starksboro for driving under the influence.

•  On July 24 updated a report on a July 19 incident in Monkton. As reported in the July 23 edition, troopers cited Christopher M. Allen, 39, of St. Albans for two counts of being wanted on arrest warrants, and for domestic assault, interference with access to emergency services, unlawful mischief and criminal threatening. On the 24th, police reported that troopers has searched Allen’s vehicle and found heroin. They also said that Allen had set fire to the driver’s seat of the vehicle while making threats to the victim. There was damage to the vehicle as a result of the fire. They added citations for possession of heroin and third degree arson to the charges Allen faces.

•  On July 24 at a few minutes before 4 p.m. executed a search warrant at a home in the Hillside Drive neighborhood of Starksboro. During the search, troopers located a firearm and learned Isaac Liberty-Hanlon, 41, of Starksboro was a convicted felon, and that he is prohibited from possessing firearms. Furthermore, troopers said they located several bags of crack cocaine and powdered cocaine, and allege that Liberty-Hanlon and 33-year-old Brian LaFountain of Bristol were both in possession of cocaine at the time of the search.

Police arrested both men. They cited Liberty-Hanlon for possession of cocaine and for being in possession of a prohibited firearm. They cited LaFountain for possession of cocaine.

•  On July 26 at 12:21 a.m. received a report of a possibly impaired driver at a business on Court Street in Middlebury. Troopers stopped the motor vehicle driven by the suspect and, in the end, cited Leo Hotte, 52, of Cornwall for driving under the influence, fifth offense, and for driving with a criminally suspended license. Police took Hotte to the ACT 1 detox center.

•  On July 26 at around 10:30 a.m. responded to a report a vehicle off the road on Route 116 in Starksboro. Witnesses at the scene said the driver of the vehicle had fled into the woods. A man matching the description of the driver was seen walking away from the scene of the crash approximately two hours after the crash occurred. Troopers stopped him and learned he was the driver in the car crash. State police cited Cory O’Brien, 32, of Bristol for driving under the influence, third offense, and for leaving the scene of an accident.

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Addison County Independent