Deal discussed in Vernon crash case


MIKE FAHER, Brattleboro Reformer

BRATTLEBORO -- There have been settlement talks in a case involving a head-on fatal crash last year in Vernon.

But a prosecutor and defense attorney say they have not reached any agreements in regard to 20-year-old Edward L. Class, a Vernon resident charged with two felonies in connection with the June 8 collision on Route 142.

In Windham Superior Court Criminal Division this week, defense attorney Evan Chadwick said he and Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown "did discuss a potential settlement, which I discussed with my client."

"We’re not in a position at this point to accept it," Chadwick added.

Vernon police say Class was driving a Nissan Maxima north in the area of 2363 Fort Bridgman Road when he crossed the center line and collided head-on with a southbound Jeep Cherokee driven by Andrew Bristol.

Class and his passenger, 22-year-old Tanya May of Readsboro, initially were trapped in the wreckage and were flown by medical helicopter from the scene. May died four days later at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.

Class was severely injured and hospitalized for an extended period. In December, he pleaded not guilty to DUI resulting in death and gross negligent operation resulting in death.

Bristol suffered relatively minor injuries and later told police, according to an affidavit, that "it appeared to him that Class was playing ‘chicken’ with him."

A Vermont Forensic Laboratory analysis has estimated that Class’ blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.063 percent. He is under the state’s legal drinking age.

Class appeared in a Brattleboro courtroom this week for a status conference, which included discussion of evidence in the case. That apparently includes social-media records that had been obtained by prosecutors.

"The state has provided voluminous (evidentiary) discovery," Chadwick said. "Most-recently, on Jan. 2, we received a packet which was about 1,000 pages of documents including Facebook records that had been subpoenaed by the state. I’ve had a chance to review quite a bit of it, but not all of it at this point."

Chadwick told Judge David Suntag that, "for the most part, we are on track" with the case’s schedule. Class’ next scheduled court appearance is on April 17 for a pre-trial conference.

In addition to discussing the possibility of expert witnesses, Brown said the state is conducting some unspecified "follow-up work" on the case.

He also indicated that settlement talks are not closed.

"There’s been an offer made ... and we’ll continue that discussion," Brown said.


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