Car vs. truck crash in Middlebury disrupts Route 7 traffic

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury police on Thursday were looking for a driver who fled the scene of a collision with a tractor-trailer (without the trailer) on Route 7 South, near Denecker Chevrolet, on Wednesday evening, July 29.

Police have already established that the unknown driver was at fault in the crash based on video evidence taken from the truck. The accident backed up traffic on Route 7 as emergency responders cleared the wrecked vehicles and spilled diesel fuel.

The truck driver, 43-year-old Shawn M. Lafountain, complained of a sore back and calf but declined medical attention, according to a Middlebury police report.

Authorities believe the car driver sustained at least minor injuries, based on the discovery of “several small drops of blood visible on the airbag, center console and passenger seat” in the vehicle, according to the police report.

The Middlebury police investigation indicates that a little before 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Lafountain was driving northbound on Route 7 at about 40 miles per hour. He notice an oncoming car drifting across the center line of the road and into his path, prompting him to slam on his brakes and swerve right (east) in an effort to miss the vehicle, according to police.

The asphalt was clear and dry at the time of the crash, according to authorities.

The left-front portion of the car — later identified as a 2007 Dodge Caliber — struck the left-front wheel of the truck, shearing at least one lug, police said. The rear portion of the truck’s left-front fender was broken, as were the driver’s stairs. The left fuel tank, located to the rear of the driver’s stairs, was ruptured, according to the accident report.

Meanwhile, the car sustained “heavy front end damage, particularly on the driver’s side, which was collapsed all the way to the firewall,” according to the police report. The accident shattered the car’s windshield and caused the driver’s airbag to deploy, police added.

Two Middlebury officers arrived on scene and tried to track the missing car driver using a police dog. While that effort was unsuccessful, police said they were able to zero in on a suspect based on evidence recovered from the wrecked car.

Among the evidence: A tourniquet that police said is “commonly used by illicit drug users” and a box with syringes bearing the name “Steve B.” Police planned to execute a search warrant on a suspect they believe is “Steve B.”

John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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