Pownal man charged with fifth DUI after crash

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POWNAL — A 35-year-old Pownal man pleaded not guilty to a fifth DUI charge and four related misdemeanors after he crashed his pickup truck and fled into the woods in the area of Searles Crossing Road on Thursday evening.

The Bennington Criminal Division of the Vermont Superior Court accepted a home detention request for William J. Brown, who appeared in court Friday afternoon to answer to the charges of DUI, driving on a suspended license, negligent operation, resisting arrest, and violating his conditions of release.

Police say a witness reported seeing a Nissan Frontier pass "several vehicles at a high rate of speed," according to a Vermont State Police affidavit written by Trooper Thomas Sandberg. The witness told police he watched the truck to pass his car and then crash into the trees off the shoulder of the road. The truck was going approximately 65 mph just before the crash, the witness said.

Two witnesses confirmed seeing the crash occur and both went to check on the driver, but told police there was no driver inside the truck when they approached it.

Troopers searched for Brown in the woods in the direction he fled, with assistance from K9 Tarawa. Tarawa pulled Sandberg to the edge of a stream Brown had crossed, and Sandberg brought Tarawa to the other side of the stream to follow the tracks. Here, they came across Brown, who was standing on a path at the edge of a swamp. Troopers ordered Brown to the ground multiple times, telling Brown that Tarawa would bite him if he did not comply, states the affidavit.

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Brown refused to follow police commands, so Sandberg told Tarawa to apprehend Brown. The dog apprehended Brown in the middle torso, allowing a trooper to take Brown to the ground where he continued to resist. Sandberg then directed Tarawa to bite Brown's left leg, and soon after, Brown was handcuffed and escorted back to the road.

Brown had blood on his face and hands and his clothes were frozen, states the affidavit. He was evaluated at the scene by Pownal Rescue and brought to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to be evaluated. After his evaluation, Brown was transported to the Shaftsbury barracks, where it was determined he had a .126 percent blood alcohol content.

On Thursday night, Judge William D. Cohen ordered Brown held at the Marble Valley Correctional Facility on a $10,000 surety bond.

At the time of the crash, Brown's license was criminally suspended for a previous DUI offense. He was also under court conditions of release that mandate that he not consume alcohol or operate a vehicle without a valid license.

Brown is due to appear in court again on March 12 at 9 a.m.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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