Woman, 86, charged after crash that killed pedestrian
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | April 09,2013
BENNINGTON — An 86-year-old North Bennington woman was arraigned on a felony charge Monday for a crash in which she hit and killed a 79-year-old pedestrian on Jan. 26 in North Bennington, according to court records.
Georgianna Carter, 86, of North Bennington, pleaded innocent in Bennington criminal court Monday to a felony charge of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle resulting in a fatality.
Carter was released without bail but under a court order that she not be allowed to drive.
In an affidavit, Lt. Lloyd Dean of the Bennington Police Department said police were notified of a crash on Route 67A on Jan. 26 around 11 a.m.
Dean said when emergency responders reached the area, they found Henry Chalifoux, 79, of North Bennington, lying face down on the north shoulder of the road near his mailbox. According to Dean, Chalifoux was alive but “in a lot of pain” when taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.
Chalifoux was pronounced dead from the hospital’s emergency department about an hour after the crash was reported. An autopsy determined that Chalifoux died from the injuries he suffered when he was hit by Carter’s car.
In an interview with another police officer, Carter said she had seen Chalifoux in the road and had attempted to swerve around him but was unable to avoid hitting him, Dean said.
Carter, who has no criminal history, said she knew Chalifoux and even used to work for him.
Two other drivers gave police statements which said they didn’t see Carter make any effort to avoid hitting Chalifoux although they said he could be plainly seen crossing the street from some distance away. Neither witness said they saw Carter driving at an excessive speed.
According to Dean, the weather was sunny on Jan. 26 and there were no obstructions in the road at the time.
Dean, who handles crash reconstructions for the Bennington Police, determined the speed at which Chalifoux was walking, Carter’s speed and the distance between her car and Chalifoux when she would have been able to see him.
“Mrs. Carter had a clear line of sight to observe Mr. Chalifoux with an ample amount of time and distance to safely avoid striking Mr. Chalifoux,” Dean said.
Dean said Chalifoux was “almost beyond the white paint fog line and all Mrs. Carter needed to do was (make) a slight swerve to the left to avoid striking Mr. Chalifoux.”
Asked about filing a felony charge against someone Carter’s age who has no criminal record, Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke said his office “brings criminal charges where we believe a crime has been committed.”
According to his obituary, Chalifoux was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Korean War. He graduated from cosmetology school in Rutland before opening the Hairport on North Street with his wife Dolores.