Alleged driver in hit-and-run ordered held on $100k bail

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BENNINGTON — A 24-year-old Massachusetts man charged in connection with a May hit-and-run crash in Manchester that injured three people, including a woman who was pregnant, is being held on $100,000 bail.

Gedeon Brezil, of Randolph, Mass., was allegedly driving a box truck that struck a car on Depot Street on May 11, causing the car to skid off the road and roll over, according to police, who say Brezil didn't stop after the crash. The occupants were taken to the hospital after the car landed on its roof on top of train tracks.

Brezil pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Thursday afternoon to felony charges of leaving the scene of a crash and gross negligent operation resulting in serious injury. Brezil is being held at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility and is due back in court on Nov. 20.

Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett asked the court to continue the $100,000 bail set when a warrant was issued in June for Brezil's arrest. Plunkett said that Brezil's lack of ties to the state and severity of the charges put him at risk of flight.

Defense attorney Frederick Bragdon, representing Brezil at his arraignment, called the $100,000 for ensuring the defendant's appearance in court "exorbitant." Bragdon requested bail be set at $10,000.

Bragdon said there was little indication from the charging affidavit that police in Massachusetts attempted to locate Brezil.

Brezil was arrested in Massachusetts on unrelated charges, the details of which were not clear on Thursday. A warrant for Brezil was issued on June 22.

Judge David A. Howard said some bail would be required, citing Brezil's lack of ties to the state and seriousness of the charges.

Police, fire and rescue workers were dispatched for a roll-over car crash at the Depot Street railroad crossing near Aubuchon Hardware at about 8 a.m. on May 11, according to a court affidavit. Manchester police officer Jason Thomas wrote that morning commuters had stopped and began helping injured occupants. The white sedan was on its roof off the westbound side, on top of the Vermont Railroad tracks that cross Depot Street.

The three occupants were all taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for treatment, according to the affidavit. Kenesha Hutchinson, 35, was 28 weeks pregnant and was forced into premature labor, which was able to be stopped. Hutchinson and another woman, Peaches Ellis, 53, were both treated for bruises they sustained from the crash.

The driver, Samuel D. Ramsey, 74, was later taken to Albany Medical Center with severe injuries including multiple breaks in his left shoulder and collar bone, multiple rib fractures, a hip fracture, and a spinal lower back injury.

A video camera at a nearby Aubuchon Hardware store captured the crash. Manchester police shared that video on social media.

The video shows a white refrigeration truck's right front bumper making contact with the car and pushing the car off the road. The car then strikes a steel structure and dirt berm, barrel-rolls one-and-a-half times, and lands on its roof on top of the railroad tracks. The truck continues west on Depot Street.

"The operator fails to come to a stop and render aid for the occupants of the car that had just been pushed off the road and caused it to have a violent rollover crash," Thomas wrote.

Police received a tip that a refrigerator truck made a delivery to Starbucks at the time officers were at the crash scene, according to the affidavit.

In video footage from Starbucks, the driver of the truck is seen checking the right front bumper and fender areas before entering the coffee shop, Thomas wrote. After the delivery at Starbucks was completed, the truck travels east on Depot Street.

Police identified the truck as being owned by M&M Delivery Services of Brockton, Mass., according to the affidavit.

The owner of the company provided police with the truck's registration number and commercial vehicle insurance policy, Thomas wrote. The owner also identified the driver as Brezil.

The owner "became less cooperative with the progress of this investigation," Thomas wrote, describing how he refused to provide police him with a phone number for Brezil and refused to unlock a gate so Brockton police officers could check on the box truck allegedly involved in the crash.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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