BENNINGTON — A woman already facing a felony DUI charge was allegedly under the influence of a substance on Friday when she caused a head-on collision that severely injured an elderly driver.
Storm Sweeney, 43, of Manchester, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Monday to a felony count of gross negligent vehicle operation with an injury resulting, a felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and misdemeanor counts of driving with a license suspended for DUI, and violating release conditions. She is being held on $2,500 bail. Local criminal court records say she is at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, but the Department of Corrections online offender locator lists her as being at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland.
On March 21, she pleaded not guilty to a felony third offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving with a license suspended for DUI. She was released then without bail, but under several conditions, among them that she not drive, and to also report daily to the Bennington Police Department.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Lauren Ronan, on April 1 at 11:44 a.m. she and another trooper responded to Route 7A in Sunderland for a reported vehicle crash. The Arlington Fire Department was working on extracting Jennie Noyes, 74, of Manchester, from her 1998 Saturn XL, which received heavy front-end damage and was totaled.
The driver of the other vehicle, Sweeney, was being loaded into an ambulance. She had been driving a 2002 Dodge Neon, which also received front-end damage and was totaled.
Sweeney told police she did not know what happened and thought she may have had a seizure, which she has been taking medication for.
Police said their investigation revealed that Sweeney's vehicle went into the opposite lane, striking Noyes' car.
Sweeney was complaining of back pain and was transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington where she was further questioned. Ronan wrote that Sweeney refused to do field sobriety exercises or submit a breath sample. After consulting with an attorney, she did consent to a blood sample being taken.
Ronan wrote that Sweeney appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and possibly both.
The blood sample was pending at the time of the affidavit.
Police said that Noyes was also taken to SVMC, then to Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. She had been complaining of leg pain, and it was learned she suffered a broken pelvis, broken ribs, and several other fractures.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Christopher Lauzon, on March 6 at 2:47 p.m. he responded to the Bennington Beverage Outlet for a report of an intoxicated woman sitting in a Dodge Neon. Lauzon wrote that Sweeney ultimately admitted to having driven to the store and having consumed two beers earlier. She provided a breath sample showing her blood-alcohol content to be .230 percent. She refused to provide an evidentiary sample.
Court records show her two previous DUI convictions were from 2000 and 2015.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115