Fire policeman charged with assaulting another at crash


WOODFORD -- State Police have cited a fire policeman with assaulting another at the scene of a tractor trailer crash on Thursday.

Police said Stephen M. Woodie, 53, a fire policeman for the Bennington Rural Fire Department, is accused of assaulting James F. King, 66, a policeman of the same department. According to Vermont State Trooper Wayne Godfrey, the two appeared to have been in an altercation over the road being opened.

Fire police perform traffic control duties for their departments.

The incident occurred at a tractor trailer crash on Route 9 near the "rock cut." The driver lost control of the vehicle and the road was closed for many hours while firefighters worked to free the trapped driver and remove the truck.

Following the altercation, King declined medical attention.

Woodie has been cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court on Dec. 30 to answer a misdemeanor simple assault charge.

Bennington Rural Fire Department Chief Shawn Gardner said a meeting will be held on the matter within a few days, but it's likely Woodie will be asked to leave the fire department. Gardener said that decision lies with him, and he would not permit a department member who assaults another to remain in the department.

Gardner said he was not present at that crash scene and did not learn of the alleged assault until Friday afternoon when the Banner called to inquire about it. Aside from that issue, the scene was handled well given the difficult position the truck came to a rest in after it crashed and that its cargo had to be removed by hand before the vehicle could be towed away.

"I want the public to know what a great group of guys they have in this department," Gardner said.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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