Wednesday March 20, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A woman is facing one felony and three misdemeanors after police said she tried to blame her having crashed her car while texting on her estranged husband.

Tanya M. Taylor, 30, who resides at the Autumn Inn, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of impeding a public officer and misdemeanor counts of false information to a police officer, careless or negligent vehicle operation, and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage. She was released on conditions she appear at future court hearings.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Andy Hunt, on Feb. 25 at 11:17 p.m. another officer was sent to Northside Drive, near Phyllis Lane, to investigate a 2005 Lexus being driven by Cheryl Labshire that ran over a road sign lying in the road. Labshire's vehicle had its tire punctured and it was determined the sign had come to be in the road by being hit by another vehicle. Damage to replace the tire was estimated at $200 while the sign's replacement was $150.

Hunt wrote that five minutes after this incident was reported he was called to the Autumn Inn by Taylor, who said her estranged husband, Wendell Taylor, had vandalized her car. She said she had an argument with him at 7 p.m. then took a nap. The car damage was discovered when she went to pick her boyfriend up at National Hangar. She said she drove there, then came back and reported the damage.

Hunt found the 2001 Ford Windstar had a shattered windshield with a hole in it and the shape of what appeared to be a yellow highway sign on the hood. The car's airbags were also deployed and Taylor had cuts and scrapes on her hands. Hunt asked Taylor if she had crashed the car into a sign on Northside Drive and Taylor said she had not, insisting her estranged husband had done the damage. She suggested he took the car, using his keys, and crashed it before bringing it back.

Taylor eventually told police she was the one who crashed the car into a sign, then drove it to National Hangar before returning to the inn. She said she did not know why she lied to police but said she wants Wendell Taylor arrested. She claimed to have a restraining order against him and added she was angry over him attempting to gain custody of their children. She said she was reading a text message on her phone when she crashed.

Hunt said Taylor was issued a ticket for texting while driving.

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