Wednesday February 6, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Police said they have charged a Sandgate man with reckless driving after he crashed his car into a parked vehicle Monday night. He has also been charged with lying about having a passenger, who was inured in the wreck.

Garth T. Jennings, 21, of Rupert Road, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony gross negligent vehicle operation with serious injury, and a misdemeanor charge of giving false information to a police officer. He was released on conditions that included he not drive.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Thomas Bull, on Monday at 5:20 p.m. he was dispatched to the intersection of Gage Street and Main Street for a reported crash. There he found a green truck with heavy damage in the southbound lane, and a damaged 2000 Mazda Protege parked in the driveway of its owner, Shawn Burrell.

Bull said he found Jennings walking around the crash scene and Jennings said he was the driver of the truck. According to Bull, Jennings said he was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Jennings told Bull he was traveling east on Gage Street and as he came around the corner, found that his brakes no long worked. He said there was a boulder at the end of the road he did not wish to hit, so he downshifted into second gear and accelerated in an attempt to clear a creek.

Bull said he spoke to Burrell, who told him there had been a female in the truck with Jennings. The female, Tori Shores, was located, with lacerations to her head. According to the affidavit, she told police she was riding with Jennings to a friend’s house and that he was driving fast. She said she had told Jennings to slow down a number of times that day, and after he passed some friends of theirs on Gage Street he lost control of the vehicle and went through the air over a stream, where the vehicle crashed. She said she hit her head on the dashboard and left the scene in a Jeep with some friends.

Police said the posted speed limit on Gage Street is 25 mph while Jennings’ estimated speed was 51 mph.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr