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State v. Scott

Supreme Court of Vermont

October 18, 2013

State of Vermont
v.
Christopher Scott

Motion for Reargument Denied December 13, 2013

Page 1174

Editorial Note:

This Opinion is subject to motion for reargument or formal revision before publication. See V.R.A.P. 40

On Appeal from Superior Court, Franklin Unit, Criminal Division. Robert A. Mello, J.

James A. Hughes, Franklin County State's Attorney, St. Albans, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Matthew F. Valerio, Defender General, Anna Saxman, Deputy Defender General, and Thomas Tarnow, Legal Intern, Montpelier, for Defendant-Appellant.

Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund, Burgess and Robinson, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1175

Skoglund, J.

[¶ 1] Defendant appeals his jury conviction for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and the resulting sentence. He asserts that the trial court impermissibly allowed the State's crash reconstruction expert to testify about defendant's speed at the time of the collision. Defendant also contends that, at sentencing, the trial court erred in considering the death that resulted from the accident as a factor in sentencing. We affirm defendant's conviction and sentence.

[¶ 2] The record reveals the following facts. While driving several colleagues from work in his pick-up truck on Lake Road in St. Albans, defendant recognized a coworker traveling up ahead. As a joke, defendant passed the coworker's vehicle on the left, crossing a double-yellow line. Defendant's passing speed is not clear from the record, but by all accounts it exceeded the posted 40 miles per hour limit. Defendant completed the pass and returned to the right lane. Some evidence suggests he began to decelerate as his truck neared the approaching intersection with Kellogg Road.

[¶ 3] Meanwhile, the decedent driver, who was travelling south on Kellogg Road with his mother as a passenger, had reached the intersection of Lake and Kellogg Roads. The decedent turned left onto Lake Road either as defendant was passing the coworker's vehicle or immediately afterwards. About three seconds after defendant returned to the right lane, defendant's truck collided with the decedent's car. The decedent's car spun 180 degrees, stopping on Lake Road near the intersection. Defendant's truck slid, bounced, or rolled off the road through a barbed wire fence and came to rest in a farmer's field. The decedent died from injuries sustained

Page 1176

during the crash; defendant suffered a ...


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