COURT: Trial nears for driver in fatality

Enosburg teen killed last April

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Staff Writer

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The Facts

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ST. ALBANS — A trial is approaching for Patrick Prue, 60, of Franklin, the man who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol last April when his pickup truck hit a Jeep carrying four Enosburg teenagers.

Brandon Gleason, 17, was killed in the accident. Another teen, David Paron, suffered a broken femur and pelvis.

Prue was subsequently charged with driving under the influence with a fatality resulting and driving under the influence with serious injury resulting.

On Monday, Prue is scheduled for a pretrial conference, and a jury draw is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Prue has been out on his own recognizance since the accident. He is allowed to drive to the office of attorney Nick Hadden and to work. He is prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol.

He also has been charged with violating his conditions of release for allegedly driving to visit a friend on Hanna Road in Franklin on May 9.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Vaillancourt reported that Prue was in his truck when Vaillancourt arrived at the accident scene. Vaillancourt reported detecting a faint smell of intoxicants and that Prue’s speech was slow and mumbled.

The officer asked Prue how much he had to drink and Prue replied, “Two Crowns at the bar in Berkshire,” according to an affidavit from Vaillancourt.

Prue acknowledged to police that he had been at the Berkshire Pub from 4 p.m. until he left for home just before the accident, which occurred at 11 p.m. According to the police affidavit, he said he had had one drink in the 30 minutes before the accident.

At the scene, Prue failed a roadside sobriety test and gave a preliminary blood alcohol result of .143 percent at 11:43 p.m.

He was then taken to the Franklin County Sheriff’s satellite office in Enosburg for further processing. At the office, he was allowed to speak with an attorney, Hadden. He then voluntarily blew into a Breathalyzer. The result showed he had a blood alcohol level of .122 percent at 12:25 a.m.

At the time of the accident, Prue had been employed by Mylan Technologies, Inc. at its Swanton facility for 10 years. His only previous convictions were for disorderly conduct in 1978 and 1984. Both incidents were misdemeanors for which he was fined $35.

In addition to Hadden, Prue is being represented by Burlington attorney Frank Twarog. Twarog initially tried to subpoena phone records for all of the teens in the car at the time of the accident, including Gleason. The records supposedly would determine whether texting was taking place at the time of the accident.

His request was opposed by the state’s attorney and by Edward Kenney, attorney for the driver of the Jeep, David Newton.

In opposing the subpoena, Kenney said Prue crossed the centerline on Route 105 and began driving west in the eastbound lane. Newton was familiar with the road and knew there was a steep embankment on his right so he swerved left, into the other lane, said police.

“It is likely David’s emergency decision would have worked and Prue’s wrong way truck would have missed the four teenagers,” Kenny wrote. “But Prue, who admitted later to drinking four whiskey drinks before getting behind the wheel and would ultimately give a breath alcohol test result of .122 percent, ‘followed’ David’s headlights back into the east bound lane. As a result, Prue aimed his truck at David’s Jeep.”

Ultimately, Prue was allowed a copy of David Newton’s phone records for a half hour before and after the accident. Unless Prue reaches a deal with prosecutors and changes his plea from not guilty, the case will likely proceed to court this month.

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