Bennington man charged after crash injures his friend
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | February 26,2013
BENNINGTON — An East Road man is facing two felony charges after police said they believed he was driving under the influence of alcohol on Jan. 3 when he crashed his truck and left his passenger with broken bones.
Scott Kipp, 22, of Bennington, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Monday on felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in a serious injury and grossly negligent driving resulting in a serious injury.
While police believe Kipp was over the legal limit during the crash, his blood alcohol content was measured at 0.066 that night. In an affidavit, Amanda Bolduc, a chemist at the Vermont Forensic Laboratory, said that by her calculations, Kipp’s blood alcohol content at the time of the crash, which happened almost an hour and a half before Kipp gave a breath sample, would have been 0.087 percent.
The legal limit in Vermont is 0.08 percent.
In an affidavit, Officer Amanda Thomson of the Bennington Police Department said she was sent to the scene of a truck crash on Shields Drive in Bennington around 2:50 a.m. on Jan. 3.
Thomson said she spoke to Kipp at the scene who admitted to driving the truck and said his friend, Frank Griffis, got “tossed around during the crash” and might be “really hurt.”
Thomson said Kipp admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash but said it was only a “little bit.” He told police that he had been driving about 15 to 20 mph when he hit a patch of ice and slid off the road.
On Jan. 7, Thomson spoke to Griffis and learned he had broken his pelvis and a rib and had a bruised lung and kidney. However, she also said that while Griffis had told her that day that he would provide the police with a medical release, no release had been provided as of Feb. 15.
Thomson said her investigation determined that speed was a factor in the crash. She also said she found evidence that Kipp had been “intentionally driving his pickup truck through snow banks and off the road.”
During Kipp’s arraignment Monday, his attorney, William Wright, asked the judge to dismiss the charge of grossly negligent driving because he believed there was not enough evidence.
“I don’t know how she could conclude that (the off-road driving) was done intentionally. My client had blown the right rear tire on his truck. She indicates that the roads were snow-covered and icy in spots so for her to just conclude that (the truck) was being driven in a reckless manner really is of no help to this court in determining probable cause,” he said.
When Judge Cortland Corsones said he would not dismiss the charge on Monday, Wright objected to the state’s request that Kipp not be allowed to drive.
Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett argued that Kipp was a danger to public safety but Corsones agreed with Wright and struck the request. Kipp was released without bail and ordered not to drive unless he has a valid license.