MAN KILLED IN QUARRY ACCIDENT

SWANTON: A man was killed on Wednesday morning after an accident at the Northeast Aggregate stone quarry in Swanton.

The facility is located just east of Route 105 on Pond Road.

Police had yet to release the name of the victim as of press time on Wednesday evening. 

Emergency crews were called to the scene just before noon-time Wednesday for a male who had something large fall on him, unsure if he was breathing.

The specifics of the incident have not been released by investigators.

Vermont State Police said they are working with the Mine Safety and Health Administration in their investigation, but believe the incident was an accident.

Follow our website at countycourier.net and our facebook page for up to date information on this and other news stories, including late-breaking news.

THREE CITED IN ASSAULT ON 105

Three people were issued citations Wednesday afternoon to appear in criminal court in St. Albans for a multitude of charges, including aggravated assault.

According to police, a 911 caller reported a male standing in the middle of Route 105, about a mile east of the Route 104. That male, later identified as Corey Levesque, 23, of Sheldon, was attempting to attack Darren Totten, 48, of St. Albans who was waiting alongside the road to get his mail.

Two other people, identified as Alice Edwards, 45, of St. Albans, and Angel Kanton, 23, of Sheldon, were also involved with the incident, according to police.

From left: Alice Edwards, Angel Kanton, and Corey Levesque in their mug shots taken on Wednesday.

Totten told police that a vehicle pulled up alongside and began threatening him and started a verbal dispute. That lead to the three exiting the vehicle to confront and assault Totten.

County Courier Publisher Gregory Lamoureux was traveling through the area, and captured some of the incident on a dash camera inside his vehicle. That dash camera footage, as well as witness testimony, lead police to charge Levesque with Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Disorderly Conduct, and Criminal Threatening.

Edwards and Kanton were both charged with Aggravated Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Aiding in the Commission of a Felony, and Criminal Threatening.

The three are set to appear in Criminal court to answer to those charges on August 12th.

Police are looking to identify a fourth person involved, a female who was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.

Authorities say Totten was not injured in the course of the incident.

POLICE SEEK SUSPECTED BURGLAR

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

GEORGIA: The Franklin County Sheriff Office needs your help finding a suspect in a burglary in Georgia yesterday, less than 24 hours after he was arrested and released by Vermont State Police.

The incident happened just after 5pm at a home on Mill River Road. Nobody was at the home when the burglary took place.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, Miles Lawler was seen on a Ring doorbell moments before he burglarized the Mill River Road home.

The Sheriff’s Department says he stole two young, 5 1/2 week old Pitbull Puppies during the burglary.

Lawler was arrested the previous day, Monday, after he was reported to be the assailant in an incident near Toure 7 in the town of Georgia.

According to Trooper Nicholas Olsen of the Vermont State Police, the alleged victim, in that case, reported that Lawler had left the scene, driving north on Route 7.

Miles Lawler appears in a mugshot less than 24 hours before police believe he was involved in a burglary in Georgia.

He was later located at Mobil North in St. Albans, intoxicated- a violation of conditions of release in an unrelated case.

The Trooper issued him a citation to appear in Criminal Court in Franklin County on Tuesday to answer to the charge of violating conditions of release. It is unclear if he was released on additional conditions or if he failed to show up to court.

A man called the County Courier about an hour after this story was first published online, identifying himself as Lawler, making threats in an attempt to get this news story removed.

The man claimed he had already talked to police, who told him the story would be removed, but when asked the name of the Deputy he spoke with, he became very belligerent and hung up the phone.

After calling the number back, a woman who would only identify herself as Sasha refused to say where Lawler was but said she had just dropped him off at a store after he asked to use her phone.

If you have any information, you are asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department at 524-2121.

© County Courier 2019

SEX OFFENDER FAILS TO REGISTER, POLICE SAY

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

36-year-old Jonathan Johnson of Richford was charged this week with failing to register with the Sex Offender Registry.

According to court filings, Johnson was convicted of aggravated sexual assault with a minor under 16 in 2005, at that time Johnson was 22 years of age.

According to public records, Johnson was released from prison in March of 2013, at which point he was required to file with the Sex Offender Registry. That filing also requires that if Johnson moves, he is to notify the registry within three days of doing so.

Vermont State Police was doing a sweep of Sex Offenders in April to check on their compliance when they went to Johnson’s East Richford Slide Road address; they found he had moved out sometime in the past month, according to a neighbor.

The Troopers continued to look for Johnson, calling him on his phone and searching databases for his last known address.

Unable to find Johnson, a warrant was issued for his arrest, for the next time police came across the man.

Johnson was picked up Sunday evening and held on the arrest warrant.

Johnson was released the next day at his arraignment after signing conditions of release.

If convicted for failing to comply with the Sex Offender Registry, he could see a misdemeanor charge added to his record, as well as up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

ANOTHER VIOLATION OF ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

Vermont State Police arrested Joshua Wells, 27, of Swanton recently-charging him with violating an abuse prevention order. The female complainant in the case told police that Wells had repeatedly been stalking her through social media and was harassing her.

When police responded, there were messages on several Facebook accounts, as well as at least two telephone calls that the woman said came from Wells.

The telephone numbers and Facebook accounts did not align with Wells, but the woman said he had been creating fake accounts and generating fake telephone numbers in order to contact her without being caught.

Two voice mail messages that were left in the woman’s cell phone also linked Wells to the victim.

Vermont State Police Trooper Adam Lippa contacted Wells, who eventually admitted contacting the woman, according to court filings, but said he did so at least partially because she had been contacting him.

He was released on conditions after his arraignment in Criminal Court on Monday afternoon.

ALTERCATION IN MOVING CAR LEADS TO DOMESTIC ASSAULT CHARGE

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

St. Albans Police investigated an incident last Saturday in which a Milton man was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and holding her in his vehicle without her consent.

According to court filings, Joshua Billado, 25, of Milton was driving with his ex-girlfriend in his 2013 Dodge Dart when they began arguing. 

The woman tried to exit the moving vehicle, but Billado stopped her, escalating the fight even more. The incident progressed and at one point the woman punched the center console of the vehicle, breaking a display for the radio, according to testimony given to police.

The woman told police that Billado choked her, and stopped her breathing for at least five seconds during the fight.

Billado left marks on the woman’s neck and shoulder area, insinuating that her allegations of Billado choking her could be true. 

The man, who listed his employer as the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, was arrested and held on $10,000 bail, which he posted later Sunday afternoon.

Billado was arraigned Monday afternoon, where he was charged with aggravated domestic assault as well as unlawful restraint in the first degree. Both charges are felonies and could land the man in prison for up to 30 years and fines totaling $75,000.

RICHFORD MAN PICKS UP 4TH DUI

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

A Border Patrol Agent was patrolling the area of the East Richford Slide Road around noon time on April 29th when he came across Larry Minor, who had stopped on the side of the road after noticing the border patrol agent behind him.

The two began chatting, and the man provided the agent with a non-driver’s photo ID.

The Agent also noticed that he had slurred speech, stumbled a little when he tried to walk, and smelled of alcohol, so he contacted the Vermont State Police.

Troopers responded and questioned Minor, who told police he had taken his wife’s vehicle just up the road to a cemetery.

According to court filings obtained by the County Courier after Minor’s arraignment on Monday, when the Trooper ultimately was able to test the man’s breath for alcohol, it registered 0.091%, which is just over the legal limit for driving in Vermont of 0.08%. That reading was also more than four and a half hours after the border patrol agent first began talking with Minor.

ST. ALBANS MAN FORGED 15 CHECKS

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

Vermont State Police arrested Logan Pratt, 30, of St. Albans and charged him with three felony counts of forgery after his grandmother contacted police suspecting him of stealing checks from her home.

When police contacted the elderly woman, she told them that she suspected he stole 8-10 checks from her while he was staying with her at her Georgia home.

The investigation led police to discover 15 checks, ranging from $60 to $200, written to himself or two other family members- Julie and Jacob Pratt.

Police obtained video footage from the bank where the checks were cashed, linking them to Logan Pratt.

In all, the 15 checks totaled $1,690, which was credited back to the grandmother’s account by the bank, according to police.

Pratt, who was out of jail on parole was held on a furlough violation after his arraignment on Monday. It is unclear if Julie or Jacob Pratt will face criminal charges for their involvement in the check fraud.

Pratt has previously been convicted of burglary, grand larceny, and possession of narcotics. The sentences for those convictions max out in March of 2020.

Each felony count of forgery could land Pratt in jail for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $1,000.

MAN LEADS POLICE DOWN RAIL TRAIL, PICKS UP DUI #2 CHARGE

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

Vermont State Police say that a Richford man led them down the Rail Trail as they attempted to pull him over Tuesday morning in Enosburgh.

Richford’s Dale Peddle, 54, was behind the wheel of his silver sedan on Tuesday morning when they tried to stop him.

Trooper Charlotte Hartman said she was dispatched for a welfare check; the caller was concerned for Peddle’s safety after he saw the man inhaling exhaust fumes from his car’s tailpipe.

When Hartman later located Peddle driving his vehicle, she attempted to pull him over. He lead police down the Rail Trail in Enosburg before traveling back onto the roadway, ultimately ending up in Richford.

According to Hartman, the pursuit ended in Richford after 16 miles.

“Peddle showed signs of alcohol and drug impairment,” Hartman said, “but he refused to provide a breath test.”

He was issued a citation for criminal court dated for July 1, including the charges of DUI #2, attempting to elude, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Police transported Peddle to Northwestern Medical Center for an evaluation after his processing. 

AN EASIER TRIP TO MONTREAL

Canada’s Autoroute 35 terminates about eight miles north of the Vermont Quebec border. source:flicker

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

QUEBEC: The Canadian Government announced last week that a new highway will be built to better connect Vermonters with Montreal.

Autoroute 35 is the primary connection between Interstate 89 in Highgate and the thoroughfares that intertwine Montreal. Motorists traveling north would travel through the Customs checkpoint, and immediately begin traveling on a two-lane highway. Currently, for a little more than eight miles, drivers have to navigate small secondary roads to connect between the two highways-but that will soon be a thing of the past… Kinda.

Canadian transportation officials announced the extension of Autoroute 35 from the St. Sebastian where it currently ends, through to the United States Border.

The extension is also being touted as the final stretch needed to complete a 310 mile stretch of limited access highway, connecting Montreal with Boston.

The sunset illuminates the new Champlain Bridge entering Montreal. The major construction project is slated to be open to the public any day now. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

This phase is the third and final phase of the project. Phase two opened to the public a couple of years ago, cutting about 15-20 minutes off the travel time for Vermonters visiting Quebec’s largest city.

Spending for the 8.3 mile stretch is expected to be greater than $80 million, according to the Canadian Government.

The project announcement comes as the Federal Government of Canada is getting ready to open one of the largest construction projects in Montreal in recent years- the new Champlain Bridge, which replaces a bridge of the same name which was opened in 1962.

The new suspension style structure will begin carrying traffic into the City by the end of June, with the outgoing lanes opening soon afterward.

Canadian Taxpayers footed the bill for the $4.5 billion bridge that was rushed through the building process, being constructed in just three and a half years. To put that into perspective- the cost of the bridge, even taking into account the Canadian Exchange rate, could fund all of Vermont’s State spending for about seven months.