NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man who authorities said used a large farm tractor like a monster truck and drove over seven police vehicles, then tried to run over two officers who pursued him, was ordered held on $50,000 bail Friday.
Orleans County sheriffs said Roger Pion, 34, of Newport, was angry over a recent arrest for resisting arrest and marijuana possession when he drove the tractor into the parking lot of the sheriff's department and rolled it multiple times across cruisers and a transport van parked in the lot. No one was injured in Thursday's incident.
Sworn police statements filed at the court said Pion would face 14 charges. The most serious one, felony aggravated assault on a police officer, carries a penalty of up to 16 years in prison.
Sheriffs said that after Pion left their lot, they were unable to pursue him because they had no intact vehicles. When two Newport City officers chased him, he suddenly started backing the tractor toward them.
"I backed up in fear of our safety about ten to fifteen feet before bumping into another vehicle," wrote Newport Officer Tanner Jacobs, adding that "at this point the tractor was still backing up." He said he and his partner then left their vehicle to avoid getting run over.
Converging city and state police and county sheriffs then surrounded Pion and ordered him from the tractor at gunpoint. He was found to be carrying a loaded pistol, authorities said. Sheriff's deputies got there in a borrowed civilian vehicle.
Defense attorney David Sleigh said he would seek to have the aggravated assault charge dismissed.
"There was no actual contact. He never came into threatening proximity of anyone," Sleigh said. "I understand if these deputies were annoyed, and there may be a personal measure of retribution" reflected in the aggravated assault charge. "But that does not equate to proof."
After Pion's court appearance Friday, sheriff's deputies and fire and rescue crews in neighboring Derby, where the sheriff's department is located, were trying to salvage what they could from the crushed cruisers. They were using tools usually used to extract crash victims from crushed vehicles to pry open the cruisers' trunks.
Chief Deputy Philip Brooks marveled that the rifle, shotgun and other items stored in his cruiser's trunk were unharmed. "Even my hat held its shape," he said.
Brooks said the department moved into the former bank building in December. There was no video surveillance of the ungated parking lot. "I'm certain the security issues will be revisited," he said.
Several other sheriffs' departments around Vermont offered to lend cruisers to Orleans County. State police offered cars they were preparing for auction.
Sheriff Kirk Martin said in an interview at the county courthouse that he was in Boston, preparing to attend a Red Sox game on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at Fenway Park, when he got word of the vehicular carnage back home. He hurried back north, with New Hampshire and Vermont State Police escorting him.
Martin missed the game, in which Boston lost to the Minnesota Twins, 5-0. "Even watching them lose yesterday would have been better" than what he came home to, he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
29 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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17. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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18. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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19. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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21. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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22. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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23. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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24. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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25. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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26. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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27. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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28. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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29. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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