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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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