Deputy fire chief resigns from post, stays with Bennington department
BENNINGTON -- The former deputy chief of the Bennington Fire Department resigned from his position Wednesday night at a disciplinary hearing but will remain with the department.
Bennington Fire Department Chief Steve Crawford said he accepted Chad E. Prentiss’ resignation from the deputy chief position and assigned him to duties as a regular firefighter. On Tuesday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division, Prentiss was given an 18-month suspended sentence for a second offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI with test refusal, and leaving the scene of a crash.
Police said in July Prentiss crashed his truck bearing BFD markers and a red light bar into a utility pole near the Energizer Battery factory. His vehicle lost a tire and police followed the gouge marks in the road to a home on Webb Street where Prentiss admitted to having been the driver.
He was placed under suspension pending the case’s outcome as per the department’s bylaws. The court also ordered Prentiss to complete a DUI impact panel and complete 200 hours of community service. This was Prentiss’ second conviction for DUI, his last being in 1998. DUI 2 convictions come with automatic 18-month driver’s license suspensions.
Crawford said the disciplinary hearing was held at the Bennington Fire House on River Street. He and other department officers presided over it. Crawford said Prentiss’ former position will go unfilled until January when the department holds its officer elections leaving himself and Assistant Chief Jeff Vickers as the department’s two chiefs. Crawford said Prentiss’ role had been one of acting chief at fire scenes where Crawford was not present, in addition to other administrative duties.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.
Crash causes power outage
WOODFORD -- A motor vehicle accident in Woodford shut down both lanes of traffic along Route 9 courtesy of a broken telephone pole Thursday.
In a written release, state police reported the initial call came in at approximately 4:46 p.m. Both lanes of traffic were closed for just over an hour as utility workers removed the pole and wires from the roadway.
The accident occurred four-tenths of a mile east of Harbour Road in Woodford. When police arrived, along with the Bennington Rural Fire Department, they found a totaled 1998 Ford Ranger with a telephone pole laying atop it along with power lines. The Ford’s operator, 47-year-old Craig Lawrence of Brattleboro, was able to exit the vehicle safely, and later told police he had reached for something in his vehicle, taking his eyes off the road just before the crash.
Lawrence was transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center as a precautionary measure after he reported chest pain where the seatbelt held him. Police said potential traffic ticket violations are still pending as a result of the incident. The accident caused local power outages for several hours.
-- Zeke Wright