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State v. Hinton

Supreme Court of Vermont

December 12, 2014

State of Vermont
v.
Matthew Hinton

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, Chittenden Unit, Criminal Division. Michael S. Kupersmith, J.

Affirmed.

Gregory Nagurney, Deputy State's Attorney, Montpelier, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Jessica Burke of Burke Law, P.C., Burlington, for Defendant-Appellant.

Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund and Robinson, JJ., and Morse, J. (Ret.), Specially Assigned

OPINION

Page 771

DOOLEY, J.

[¶1] Defendant appeals from the civil suspension of his driver's license and his conditional guilty plea to driving under the influence (DUI). He argues that the police lacked reasonable grounds to stop him, and thus, the court should have granted his motion to suppress and dismiss. We affirm.

[¶2] The trial court made the following findings, none of which defendant challenges on appeal. Around 7 p.m. on December 28, 2013, a police officer responded to a report of a downed tree on Osgood Hill Road in the Town of Essex. The tree had broken off about fifteen feet above the ground and was partially blocking the roadway. The officer considered the tree a danger to passing motorists. He could not remove the tree himself and radioed the highway crew for help.

[¶3] While waiting for the highway crew to arrive, the officer drove one or two miles to the south end of Osgood Hill Road

Page 772

to warn drivers about the blockage and to inform northbound drivers of an alternate route via Route 128. The officer parked approximately 200 yards north of the intersection of Osgood Hill Road and Route 128, facing north. When a car approached, the officer would activate his blue lights and speak to the driver. He would advise the driver to take the alternate route if the driver's destination was ...


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