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BENNINGTON — A status hearing will be held later this month in the case of a Massachusetts man who pled not guilty to a fatal DUI accident that killed a motorcyclist last August.

Kyle Thayer, 36, of Clarksburg, appearing in December via telephone at his Bennington Superior Court arraignment, entered a not guilty plea on three separate charges, including the fatal DUI, gross negligence that caused a fatality, and operating a vehicle under the influence with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, resulting in the death of another.

Thayer faces up to 15 years, a fine of up to $15,000 on the gross negligence charge, and a sentence of 15 years and up to a $10,000 fine on the charge of operating a vehicle under the influence. The DUI with fatality charge carries a minimum sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

On Aug. 14th, Thayer, driving a utility terrain vehicle, or UTV, allegedly attempted a left turn on Route 7 South in Pownal from the breakdown lane onto Mason Hill Road South, crossing all four lanes of traffic. He was struck on the driver’s side door of his UTV by the victim’s Harley Davidson motorcycle. Both vehicles continued off the east side of the roadway, where Todd Rhinemiller was ejected over a guardrail.

During the investigation, Thayer displayed signs of alcohol impairment. He was subsequently screened for driving under the influence and later given a blood test showing an alcohol level of 0.74 percent.

Rhinemiller, 57, of Adams, Massachusetts, was transported from the scene and flown to Albany Medical Center in New York, where he succumbed to his injuries. Thayer was transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center before ultimately being flown to Albany Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Thayer was released in December on several conditions by Judge Cortland Corsones, including no driving, unless there’s a valid license, the use of an interlock device if and when operating any motor vehicle, and no alcohol.

A status hearing was held Monday, and another has been scheduled for later this month.


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