KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
READSBORO -- State Police said a hunter took his own life on Saturday, distraught after killing his friend in a deer hunting accident.
Troopers from the Shaftsbury and Brattleboro barracks responded to the scene one mile west of Howe Pond Road in Readsboro, where they found Benjamin Birch, 39, and Timothy Bolognani, 49, both of Readsboro, dead from gunshot wounds.
Detectives from the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations was called, and they determined that Bolognani and Birch had been deer hunting Saturday morning with their friend, Mark Colford. Police said Birch shot at a deer, which then ran through the woods while the three tracked after it.
Police said that at some point Bolognani fired his gun and then heard Birch cry out. Birch was found by his friends lying on the ground, where he subsequently died. Police said Bolognani then took his own life using his rifle.
Bolognani was the son of former state Rep. Betty Bolognani.
The death was the second to strike the family in less than two years. In an accident in the Heartwellville section of town, his 18-year-old daughter, Jessica, was killed in a snowmobile accident in January 2010.
The deceased hunters were taken to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy. No foul play is suspected, according to police.
Vermont game wardens, the Readsboro Fire Department, and the Whitingham and Florida, Mass., and North Adams, Mass., emergency personnel assisted.
Police said that once the investigation is complete the information will be forwarded to the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
Reporter Zeke Wright contributed to this report.