Castleton town manager at odds with town over towed vehicle
By Darren Marcy
Staff Writer | June 20,2014
CASTLETON — A towed vehicle has the Castleton town manager at odds with the chief of the Castleton Police Department and the chairman of the Select Board.
Castleton Town Manager Charles Jacien’s Saturn Vue was towed early in the morning June 8, and Jacien said his vehicle was damaged in the process.
Jacien said he ran out of gas the afternoon of June 7 just up the road from his North Road home near the intersection with Pencil Mill Road and thought he had left his vehicle legally parked off the pavement within the right of way on the neighbor’s property.
After it was towed, Jacien said he was assured by Castleton Police Department Chief Bruce Sherwin that the police would pay for the tow and for the alleged damages.
But Sherwin said that’s simply not true because the Castleton Police Department had nothing to do with the tow and Select Board Chairman Joseph Bruno echoed those comments.
Despite the fact that several Castleton officers were at the scene, none of them ordered the car towed, said Sherwin, who then declined further comment.
“The police department did not tow his car,” Sherwin said. “Other than that, no comment.”
Bruno said Jacien’s car was towed by the neighbor.
“Police said it’s not in the travel portion of the road, we can’t tow it,” Bruno said. “We’re not responsible for that. The police did not tow it.”
Jacien said he was able to get the vehicle safely off the road but within the right-of-way where he left it overnight.
But while the police may not have had a reason to tow the vehicle, the landowner could have had the vehicle towed and that’s apparently what happened according to Bruno.
But there is some baggage associated with this incident.
One of the officers at the scene was Castleton officer Cheri McDermott, who has filed a lawsuit against the town accusing Jacien of creating a hostile work environment and alleging retaliation against her for filing the complaint.
“It’s just coincidental that Cheri was on duty for all this,” Jacien said. “It’s just all too coincidental. All I know is my Sunday and Monday were disrupted. All my plans were disrupted, and I was neither protected nor served.”
When reached by phone, McDermott said only that she didn’t tow his vehicle.
“I did not call a wrecker,” McDermott confirmed, referring all other questions to the chief.
Jacien said he didn’t have to pay for the tow, which he said was telling.
“Chief said I would get my car out of tow without having to pay for that,” Jacien said. “I walked out of there with my car without paying anything. Apparently, the cops must have felt some guilt if they’re paying for it.”
Jacien also said his car was damaged and said he has submitted an estimate from Parker’s Auto Body to the town for the damages.
Joseph Bruno said he looked at the car and saw some dog scratches on it, but no damage other than a kinked tailpipe, which Bruno’s Towing repaired.
Joseph Bruno is a cousin to Mike Bruno who owns the towing company, but otherwise, Joseph Bruno is not involved in the business.
“I have a bona fide estimate,” Jacien said. “There’s about $1,100 in body damage. The town knows my intention of getting it fixed. I’ve heard nothing more about that.”
Bruno said the issue seems to have gotten a lot more attention than a simple case of running out of gas should.
“I think the whole thing has been really blown out of proportion,” Bruno said. “I think it could have been avoided.”