Woman charged after Woodford crash that injured boy
The crash in the "rock cut" section of Route 9 in Woodford, where a steep decline leads to a sharp corner, shut down one lane of road for several hours.
Nadia A. Soto, 27, pleaded not guilty in Bennington criminal court on Monday to grossly negligent operation and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.
Defense attorney Frederick Bragdon asked that Soto, who was injured in the crash and appeared in court in a wheelchair, be able to travel to medical appointments in Albany, N.Y. Soto was already scheduled to appear in court this week for unrelated pending cases; she'll return on Wednesday.
First responders were dispatched to Route 9 on the afternoon of Oct. 30 after Soto's westbound 2007 Toyota Yaris struck an eastbound 2017 International tractor trailer that was in the rightmost lane, according to a Vermont State Police affidavit.
Soto and her six-year-old son were both taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and then to Albany Medical Center. The child had shattered glass in his head from a broken window as well as bruises and abrasions. He was temporarily put into state custody, according to the affidavit.
One woman told police that the car Soto was driving westbound passed their vehicle on a double yellow line at a high rate of speed before it passed three more cars within two miles. When she saw the crash, smoke was coming from the car's hood. The woman and her mother stopped to tend to both occupants.
Soto only has a learner's permit and no active driver's license, according to the affidavit.
Soto told troopers that she was traveling westbound at about 60 mph and had passed a slow car before the corner, and didn't remember what happened when she crashed, according to the affidavit. The road has a posted 50 mph limit.
The section of Route 9 has "numerous road signs alerting operators" about a steep decline and sharp corner, Trooper Travis Hess wrote. "There have been several motor vehicle fatalities over the past 10 years in this particular location."
Judge David A. Howard released Soto with conditions, including that she reside in Bennington County and not drive a vehicle.
The negligent operation charge carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. The reckless endangerment charge carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Ed Damon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
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