DNA evidence results in crash charges

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BENNINGTON — A DNA analysis led to a local man being charged this week in connection with a hit-and-run crash in Shaftsbury last fall.

Allen L. Spaulding, of Bennington, was allegedly driving a sedan southbound on Route 7A one night last October when the car left the roadway and struck a residence, according to Vermont State Police. Spaulding, 31, allegedly left the scene without reporting the crash, abandoned his vehicle and later made a fraudulent insurance claim that the car had been stolen.

Spaulding pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Monday to felony insurance fraud and misdemeanor counts of negligent operation, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and providing false information to police by implicating another.

Spaulding was released with conditions and is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 28

Troopers investigated early on Oct. 17, 2016 after a vehicle was found parked on the shoulder of Route 7A and still partially in the roadway, Trooper Wayne Godfrey wrote in an affidavit. The driver wasn't with the car when it was found just before 2 a.m., but the airbags had deployed and the 2001 Honda Civic had moderate damage to its passenger side fender and hood and was missing its front bumper shroud.

Troopers determined the car had left the roadway before it crossed the driveway of a residence in the 3000 block of Route 7A, striking the front stairs of the home about 15 feet from where two people were sleeping on the first floor, according to the affidavit. The car was steered back onto the road and continued south a few hundred feet before it could no longer be driven.

Troopers learned the car was registered to Spaulding. Spaulding and two people he lived with denied having driven the car or knowing anything about the crash. Spaulding allegedly told investigators he last saw his car at about 9:30 p.m. and had left the keys in the vehicle with the doors unlocked.

Troopers searched the vehicle and seized drug paraphernalia including a small container of marijuana and three glass pipes. Also seized was the driver's side airbag as evidence, which was analyzed by the Vermont Forensic Laboratory.

According to the affidavit, on May 24, the lab reported a sample of bodily fluids from the airbag was a positive match for Spaulding.

Spaulding allegedly contacted the insurance company responsible for the car's coverage to report his vehicle had been stolen and then involved in a crash, according to the affidavit. The claim was denied, but the company paid to cover damage to the residence and the lien still on the vehicle, about $2,500.

Troopers sought and were granted a court order that Spaulding submit to two DNA swabs to confirm the match, which he provided June 8.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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