BENNINGTON — A 23-year-old man is facing felony drunken driving charges stemming from a crash last month that seriously injured another driver.
Gregory V. Susee, of Bennington, allegedly had a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit when he struck a 49-year-old woman's vehicle head-on, trapping her in her vehicle, police said.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer David Faden, on Nov. 13 just after 3 p.m. he was dispatched to the area of 559 Gore Road for a report of a vehicle crash. He arrived to find Bennington Police Cpl. Christopher Lauzon helping a woman who was trapped in her car.
Faden spoke with Susee, who said he was driving the black 2001 Nissan Sentra involved in the crash, and the male passenger of Susee's car. Susee told police he was driving from his home in the White Birches Mobile Home Park to his passenger's home. Susee said he had been drinking alcohol and his most recent drink was right before he left his home.
Susee appeared to be highly impaired at the scene and during processing. He had trouble completing sobriety exercises, according to Faden, who also noted a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and blurred speech.
A preliminary breath test at the scene resulted in a BAC of .110 percent, according to the affidavit. Susee later agreed to an evidentiary breath test at the police station which showed a BAC of .79. A supplemental affidavit filed by Amanda Boldue, a chemist employed by the Vermont Forensic Laboratory, said Susee's BAC at the time of the crash would have been .114. The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in Vermont is .08.
Police found Susee at fault in the crash. In a supplemental affidavit, Cpl. Lauzon said Susee crossed the center yellow line into the eastbound lane and hit the second vehicle head on. The driver, Ann Quiel, 49, of Bennington, was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for her injuries.
In a sworn written statement, Quiel said she struck her head on the driver's side window during the crash. She was air-lifted to Albany Medical Center about one week later and underwent emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain. She spent a week in the intensive care unit before moving to a rehabilitation facility in Bennington. She told police that her speech and balance were affected, she's unable to walk and her recovery is expected to take up to a year.
Susee appeared before Judge David A. Howard Monday and pleaded not guilty to felony counts of first offense driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) over the legal limit with an injury resulting, and driving under the influence of alcohol with an injury resulting. He was released on conditions.
Susee is represented by the Bennington County Public Defender's office and is due back in court on Jan. 25, 2016 for a calendar call.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979