Thursday November 15, 2012

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Police have determined alcohol was a cause of a crash in September that took the life of a Bennington man, and they seek to make at least one arrest regarding who supplied alcohol for the party the teen attended prior to the crash.

Bennington Police Lt. Lloyd Dean said that on Sept. 2 at 2:20 a.m., Randy J. Blair Jr., 19, was driving north on Mount Anthony Road toward Route 9 when his vehicle drifted across the center line. Dean said Blair then swerved to the right and lost control of the vehicle, striking an earthen embankment.

Dean said the force of the crash caused the back end of the vehicle to swing around and hit the embankment hard enough to spin the vehicle a third time. At that point, Blair, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown out the driver-side door, which had come open.

Dean said Blair was killed when he left the vehicle. An autopsy report showed Blair’s blood-alcohol content to have been .110 percent, police said. No other drugs were found in Blair’s system.

According to Dean, Blair had been at a camp on Mount Anthony Road attending a birthday party. Dean said there were a number of people under 21 at the party who were also consuming alcohol. Dean said Blair left the party after being involved in a physical fight, but the fight did not contribute to the crash.

"This was an alcohol-related tragedy," Dean said.

Dean said the crash was investigated by Officer Roscoe Harrington, but Officer Joshua Stemp is investigating the criminal aspect. "There will be an arrest in this case," Dean said, adding that police intend to charge an underage male they say hosted the party and is responsible for Blair and others being given alcohol.

Dean would not say who police intend to charge. "Some people have lied during the investigation," he said, adding that Stemp hopes to complete the case soon and discuss charges with the State’s Attorney’s Office.