Man ordered to pay restitution for windshield damage


BENNINGTON — A Bennington man has been ordered to pay restitution to an Uber driver whose windshield he damaged near the Stewart's Shops location on Main Street.

Donald Wescott, 33, pleaded guilty this past spring to misdemeanor unlawful mischief in connection with the incident, which occurred on Feb. 11 of this year.

As the driver, Kevin O'Meara, also of Bennington, was leaving the store's parking lot that night, he braked abruptly to avoid hitting Wescott, who was walking on the sidewalk, according to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Michael Sharshon.

Wescott "stepped in front of [O'Meara's] vehicle and proceeded to yell at him and taunt him," Sharshon wrote. O'Meara inched his car forward "in the hopes Wescott would move," and the pair "exchanged words."

Wescott then struck O'Meara's windshield and passenger-side mirror, according to the affidavit. Sharshon estimated the damage to be about $300.

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Wescott told law enforcement that O'Meara's car "connected with his right knee," though Sharshon said he observed no visible injury to it. Police said Wescott has an "extensive" criminal history.

The new windshield cost $408, O'Meara testified at a restitution hearing in Bennington County Superior Court Criminal Division last week. The victim could not afford to pay that amount out of pocket, so he obtained a loan that will cost him $786 once he has finished making monthly payments.

Though Wescott's attorney argued that his client should only be required to pay the cost of the windshield, Judge John Valente ordered Wescott to pay O'Meara the higher figure in monthly installments of at least $25.

O'Meara, who is retired but supplements his Social Security income by driving for Uber, was not on duty for the ride-hailing service at the time of the incident, he said in court. He did not seek any restitution for potential lost earnings.

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