BENNINGTON -- A Pownal man who State Police say was driving recklessly with a 5-year-old child in his car told them the child had bumped her head and needed his prompt attention.
Danny C. Thomas, 25, of Pownal, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony court of negligent vehicle operation while eluding a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, and gross or negligent vehicle operation. He was released on conditions that he not drive.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Thomas Stange, on March 18 at 10:40 p.m. he was patroling Route 7 in Pownal when his radar detected a vehicle traveling 81 mph in a 50 mph zone. It passed a southbound vehicle with another car approaching in the northbound lane, so Stange persued it with his blue lights on.
He turned his siren on when the vehicle took a sharp turn into Alta Gardens Mobile Home Park, where it nearly hit a fence. It stopped at a home on Cardinal Boulevard and the driver, Thomas, got out.
Stange drew his pistol and ordered Thomas to stop. Thomas explained his 5-year-old daughter, who was in the car, was hurt and he wanted to get home quicly to tend to her. He said she had wiggled free of her car seat while he was driving, and that she had been screaming.
The child had a small bump on her head and appeared to be fine, according to Stange. He offered to call an ambulance, but Thomas said it was not necessary. He said he had not been trying to outrun Stange.
Stange decided not to arrest him then, and gave Thomas a citation on April 25.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.