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Author Topic: 18 Yr Old Steals Car To See What It Was Like - Tom Benton - St Albans Messenger  (Read 1786 times)
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« on: November 17, 2016, 05:01:08 PM »

A very interesting story written by Tom Benton, a St. Albans Messenger Staff Writer and published in the Thursday, November 17, 2016 Edition of The St. Albans Messenger

'I wanted to see what it was like'

JOHN  MARTIN  (Photo by Tom Benton)

Teen accused of car theft pleads not guilty
Messenger Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS - Court documents tell the full' story of a high-speed chase Sunday evening that led to the arrest of a local 18-year-old.

Vermont State Trooper Jay Riggen was driving north on Route 104 in St. Albans Sunday at around 6 p.m., according to his affidavit. He noticed a 2015 Ford Focus, driving south, toward him, was travelling at a speed well above the posted 40 mph limit. "I activated my cruiser's radar speed device and measured the vehicle traveling at 61 miles per hour," Riggen, wrote. "I also noted' that the vehicle's parking lights were illuminated but its headlights were not."

So Riggen    turned around and turned on his police cruiser's blue lights.  The Ford Focus "responded by accelerating. I watched as the operator traveled through the red light signal regulating VT 104 southbound traffic at no less than 70 miles per hour."   Riggen noted in his affidavit that the Focus ran the red light in the midst of heavy traffic.

Riggen turned on his vehicle's siren Riggen turned on his vehicle's siren and "proceeded carefully" across the heavily trafficked intersection. The Focus was now passing the Collins Perley Sports Complex. Its driver
passed several vehicles, driving in the oncoming lane of traffic.

Then the entire vehicle went dark. "The parking lights and taillights had been illuminated previously;" Riggen wrote, "but the entire vehicle 'blacked out' as the operator turned off the entire light package."

Suddenly the vehicle's headlights turned back on as the Ford Focus accelerated to approximately 88 miles per hour, 48 mph above the posted speed limit, with Riggen in pursuit. The Focus began aggressively steering in and out of his lane, across the fog line on the west side of the roadway.

The vehicle's speed gradually decreased to 60-70 mph. Riggen observed there was a passenger in the vehicle's front passenger seat. "I noted that the passenger's hands were behind the headrest," he wrote.

"The appearance looked as though the passenger was 'lounging.'"

The vehicles approached Benoit Road. The Focus signaled, pulled over and stopped. Riggen pulled up behind him. The trooper unbuckled his seatbelt and was about to step out of the vehicle when the Focus sped up and took off.

The pursuit continued past Oakland Station Road, where the Focus again dangerously passed a southbound vehicle.  As the driver approached Nichols Road, he swerved out of the Southbound lane, across the northbound lane, and onto the fog line on the opposite side of the road," Riggen wrote. "The operator continued this type of in-andout-of-his-lane swerving operation as he approached
Bessette Road."

There the Focus turned, first on to Bessette Road and then right on to Snowcrest Road, a turn its driver took too fast. The Focus went off the north side of the roadway; into a culvert. "The operator attempted to steer the vehicle back onto the roadway; but the vehicle became disabled due to the terrain."

The driver's door opened. The driver - clear- ly male and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt - fled the car. Riggen said in his affidavit he was concerned pursuing the driver would allow the individual to flank Riggen's position or gain access to the unattended police cruiser. Riggen wrote he decided to take the passenger into custody instead.

The passenger identified herself as Kristen Yerry; 18. She said the driver was John Martin,also 18. Yerry waived her Miranda rights, and told Riggen how all this began. The two teenagers were walking by the St.
Albans Library on Maiden Lane when they noticed an idling vehicle outside.

"Get in," Martin said. Yerry did so. She told Riggen that when the teens saw his blue lights in the rearview, she asked Martin to pull over.

"I got this," he told her. "I remarked to Yerry that it was fortunate that they had not killed anyone," Riggen wrote. "Yerry told me it was fortunate that they had not killed themselves."

Yerry said Martin had wanted her to get out of the vehicle during the pursuit. She refused to leave him. "I asked Yerry if that was why Martin had pulled over for a brief moment during the pursuit," Riggen wrote.

"Yerry told me that she did not remember Martin pullingover."

State troopers from the St. Albans and Williston stations, as well as a Fish and Wildlife Department game warden and a K9 detection dog searched the woods near Snowcrest Road for Martin. They did not find him, and finally left the area, save for Riggen and another state trooper, who decided to "follow-up on a tip received about a house for sale in the area. During this tip follow-up, I observed a male subject wearing a black hooded sweatshirt emerge from the brush line."

Martin had his arms and hands in his sweatshirt. Riggen ordered him to stop and show his hands. Martin did not comply. Riggen "responded by escorting the male to the ground" and handcuffing him. Riggen smelled alcohol on his breath. A preliminary breath test detected a blood alcohol concentration of .042 percent, approximately two-and-a-half hours after the chase.

Martin refused an evidentiary breath test. He was processed at the St. Albans Vermont State Police (VSP) Barracks.

"That was stupid," Martin told Riggen, unsolicited, during processing. "That's my first time stealing a car. I wanted to see what it was like. I heard my buddies talk about it all the time."

Martin was transported to the Northwest Correctional Facility and lodged for lack of $5,000 bail. He faces two felony charges and three more misdemeanor charges. The combined felony charges alone could lead to up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $7,000.

Grand larceny is one of those charges. Riggen's affidavit notes the Kelley Blue Book value for the 2015 Ford in good condition is $8,700, well exceeding the $900 threshold for grand larceny. The owner of the
vehicle told police she was unaware the vehicle had been stolen - that she was under the impression it was still parked behind Jeff's Maine Seafood where she had parked it.

Martin was arraigned in Franklin County Superior Court on Monday. He invoked the 24-hour-rule, allowing him an additional 24 hours to decide on a plea. The next morning, he pled not guilty.

Riggen spoke with Yerry at the VSP's St. Albans Barracks immediately after the incident. Jerry did not dispute that she had willingly participated in illegal activity. She said Martin had driven the vehicle for 30 minutes prior to encountering Riggen on Route 104.

"I asked Yerry what their plan was for the vehicle, had they never encountered VSP on this date," Riggen wrote. "Yerry told me that she did not know."


« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 05:16:26 PM by Henry » Logged

Henry Raymond
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