Mother charged, infant unhurt after fiery car crash


SHAFTSBURY -- Police said a mother was under the influence of narcotics when her car, carrying her infant child, crashed and burned off Route 7A on Tuesday. The mother suffered an arm injury while the infant was not hurt.

Vermont State Police Sgt. Brian Turner said at 6:55 p.m. Police and firefighters responded to a crash just south of Hidden Valley Road where they found a 2007 Subaru Legacy completely engulfed in flames.

The driver, Vanessa Hoyt, 25, of Bennington, and her one-year-old daughter had been helped out of the vehicle by an emergency room nurse at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center on her way home from work. Police did not have the name of the nurse available.

Hoyt told police she was driving north at approximately 45 mph when she leaned back to give her daughter a bottle. Police determined she had driven off the east side of the road and gone 200 feet before hitting a boulder, then a tree. The crash caused the engine to burst into flames. Bennington Rescue Squad evaluated both her and her daughter at the scene.

Hoyt was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, but the child was secured in a child safety seat. They were both taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center as a precaution.

Police said Hoyt was seen by a drug recognition expert while at the hospital and it was determined she was under the influence of a narcotic at the time of the crash. She has been cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court on May 27 to answer charges of driving under the influence of drugs, and endangering the welfare of a child.

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


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