KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Massachusetts man who game wardens say fled them while being escorted on a snowmobile while he was under suspicion of driving it while intoxicated, was placed under $500 bail Monday after he pleaded not guilty to charges.
David Carpenter, 48, pleaded not guilty to a first offense of driving a snowmobile while intoxicated, and attempting to elude law enforcement while on a snowmobile. He was released on conditions he not consume alcohol.
According to an affidavit by Warden Trainee David Taddei, on Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m. he and another warden were on snowmobile patrol in Woodford along the Vermont Association of Snowmobile Travelers (VAST) trail system when they saw three men with parked snowmobiles on the side of the trail. One of the men, Carpenter, had an open beer can on the back of his machine and upon speaking to him, the wardens suspected he was intoxicated.
Taddei wrote that to administer a preliminary blood-alcohol test (PBT) they had to bring Carpenter to the other warden’s truck. Taddei said they told Carpenter he would ride his machine between Taddei and the other warden and not go above 20 mph. "While this was not an ideal situation, it seemed to be the most reasonable option to administer Carpenter a PBT due to our current location and number of wardens present," wrote Taddei.
Taddei said at one point they stopped and plans were made to meet with another law enforcement officer on Route 9. Taddei said Carpenter then asked him a question about his snowmobile, then drove off on his own. Taddei said Carpenter sped up and did not appear to have intentions of stopping, so Taddei activated his blue lights.
Taddei wrote that he and the other warden pursued Carpenter 4.5 miles to Heartwellville where they found Carpenter next to his pickup with the keys in the ignition and the vehicle running. Taddei wrote that Carpenter admitted to fleeing them.
According to Taddei, Carpenter performed field sobriety exercises in a manner that indicated he was intoxicated but he refused to take a PBT.