Police file charges in crash


BENNINGTON -- A local man is facing a misdemeanor charge after it was alleged he caused a crash which resulted in two people going to the hospital.

Michael P. Smith Jr., 35, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of a crash with property damage. He was released under the conditions that he not drive without a valid license, and show up to court when scheduled.

According to an affidavit by Bennington County Sheriff's Deputy Edward Elmore, on Feb. 8 he was on patrol in Arlington when at around 10 a.m. he was called to a crash on Warm Brook Road near the Route 313 intersection. There he met Robert J. Hunter Jr., and his wife, Nancy J. Strain. Hunter had been driving a 2006 Honda Civic and had crashed it into a guard rail. Both he and Strain appeared to have whiplash injuries and were being seen to by the Arlington Rescue Squad. They were later taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for evaluation.

Hunter and Strain told police that a minivan had gone past a stop sign without stopping and forced them to turn to avoid it, leading them to hit the guard rail. A witness corroborated this, according to police.

Smith's vehicle was located in Bennington, along with Smith himself, who said he had been on Warm Brook Road and heard tires squeal but did not know there had been a crash. He became emotional when police him told there had been one, wrote Elmore.

It was learned that Smith did not have valid car insurance when the crash occurred.

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


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