KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Grove Street man is facing felony charges after police identified him as the driver of a vehicle involved in a high speed chase earlier this month.
Carl Gaines, 29, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to felony counts of eluding a law enforcement officer, reckless or gross negligent vehicle operation, and a misdemeanor count of excessive speed. He was released on conditions including he not drive.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Andy Hunt, on Sept. 1 at 10:38 p.m. police in Bennington received word that New York State Police were chasing a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt on Route 7 in New York toward Route 9 in Vermont. They were then notified the vehicle was on Ore Bed Road in North Bennington. Shortly thereafter, Bennington Police were told the New York troopers had stopped their pursuit.
Hunt said he learned from New York State Trooper Mark Mosher that he witnessed the Cobalt swerve across the center line of Tarmac Road in Boytonville, N.Y. He attempted to get the vehicle to pull over, but it sped up and fled, meanwhile objects were flung out of the windows.
According to Mosher, the Cobalt was traveling upwards of 70 mph on Ore Bed Road, which is a winding dirt road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. The vehicle was in the left lane much of the time, creating a hazard.
Once the vehicle turned onto Murphy Road, Mosher shut his lights off and followed it to the Paper Mill Bridge where he saw it come close to hitting another vehicle. There it slowed down and a male exited from the passenger side and fled on foot. The vehicle was last seen on North Bennington Road.
The vehicle was registered to Stacey Gethins. Police did not find her that evening, but on Sept. 3 she arrived at the Bennington Police Station along with Christopher Russell, 22. Both told police that on the night of Sept. 1, her vehicle was on loan to a male who they said lived at the Iron Kettle Motel in Shaftsbury and who worked at the William E. Dailey cement company.
According to Hunt, on Sept. 4 Gethins spoke to Mosher and said that story was not true and that her vehicle was being driven by her boyfriend, Gaines. She said Gaines told her he thought one of his passengers had heroin, so he fled from police. She said Russell had loaned his car to the man they implicated and the first story had been to get that man in trouble.
Hunt wrote that Gaines admitted to fleeing police to Mosher, saying he has no driver’s license and did not wish his girlfriend’s car to be impounded. He said after police stopped chasing him, he parked the vehicle at the Mount Anthony Country Club where it sat for two days.
According to court records, Gethins and Russell have had warrants issued for their arrest on misdemeanor charges of giving false information to police. They are listed as co-defendants on Gaines’ case.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.