SWANTON — A head-on crash on Route 7 in Swanton took the lives of two Alburgh residents on Thursday afternoon.
Vermont State Police said that Diane Bohannon, 68, and Robert Benjamin, 67, were killed after a Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by Maria Carlson, 35, of Swanton, struck Bohannon’s Mercury Sable between Woods Hill Road and the Swanton/St. Albans Town line.
Evidentiary blood samples were taken from Carlson, who this morning was listed in stable condition at Northwestern Medical Center. “We are investigating this as a potential drug-impaired driving incident,” Lt. John Flannigan told the Messenger today.
According to Vermont State Police, Carlson was traveling north on Route 7 when her car left the roadway, struck a telephone pole, traveled through a yard and back out onto the road where it crossed the center lane and struck Bohannon’s car in the southbound lane head on.
Vermont State Police were notified of the accident at 12:35 p.m. Heavy rescue was on the scene when police arrived and Carlson already had been transported to the hospital.
Bohannon and Benjamin had to be extricated from the vehicle, which involved removing the vehicle’s roof, said police.
Bohannon was pronounced dead at the scene. Benjamin was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead there.
A witness to the accident put Carlson’s vehicle’s speed at 100 m.p.h.
Police report that when they met with Carlson at the hospital, she was unable to recall any details of the accident.
Thus far, Carlson has been charged with grossly negligent operation with a fatality resulting, although the investigation is ongoing.
The area around the accident was closed to traffic for more than six hours while police investigated the scene.
The accident also took out power for a small number of Swanton Electric customers along Route 7. Swanton Village Manager Reg Beliveau reports power was restored to all customers by 6 p.m.