Teen in critical condition

Driver arraigned on three charges

Elodie Reed

By Elodie Reed

Staff Writer

Just
The Facts

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ST. ALBANS — A 21-year-old St. Albans man was arraigned on three charges Monday following a car accident last week that sent a 16-year-old girl to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Robert L. Bellevue sat in Franklin County Superior Court, Criminal Division yesterday with family and friends as he waited to hear the charges brought against him from the Judge Howard VanBenthuysen.

In a very brief arraignment, Bellevue was charged with reckless endangerment, grossly negligent vehicle operation with a serious injury and DUI#1-drug or both with injury. He entered his plea as not guilty.

Bellevue was then released with several pre-trial conditions. If convicted, Bellevue faces up to a maximum of 31 years to serve or $21,000 in fines or both.

The incident that led to Bellevue’s charges took place, according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Office affidavits, on Feb. 25, around 10:30 a.m. Bellevue was allegedly driving a 2003 Kia Spectra with three juvenile passengers when he lost control of the vehicle while traveling north on Boston Post Road by Sand Hill Road in Enosburgh.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the accident at 11 a.m. last Wednesday. Affidavits state that the car appeared to have hit a frost heave, became airborne, hit a hard snow bank and then the ground, rolled over and spun around before coming to a rest on its roof off of the road in the snow.

While Bellevue and the two backseat passengers – two 15-year-old boys – were able to exit the car and escaped the accident with little or no injuries, the front seat passenger, 16-year-old Madison Page of St. Albans, was ejected from the vehicle and sustained serious, life-threatening injuries to her head and chest.

Page was allegedly the only passenger not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.

According to police affidavits, a statement from one of the underage passengers indicates that he performed CPR on Page after seeing that she wasn’t breathing immediately after the crash. Page allegedly began breathing on her own following CPR – though she remained unconscious – and was eventually attended to by Enosburg Ambulance Service, AmCare Ambulance and Enosburgh Fire Department personnel who also responded to the scene.

Page was transported to Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) and then, due to the serious nature of her injuries, transported to University of Vermont Medical Center. According to a hospital spokesperson there, Page is in critical condition.

A fundraiser page has been set up for Page on YouCaring.com, where aunt and uncle Jason and Dana Page are asking for financial and prayerful support during their daughter’s recovery. Jamie and Alyssa Page are her parents.

According to a Feb. 28 update on the page, Page was still in the intensive care unit (ICU) and sedated this past weekend. The update did indicate Page was making some progress, with reduced swelling and use of fewer medications.

Those wishing to help can visit www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-maddie-page/313364.

Bellevue and the two other passengers were also transported to NMC and later released.

While the crash continues to be under investigation by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, police and witness statements included in affidavits allege that Bellevue was operating the vehicle at excessive speeds – 65 mph or even 90 mph – on the 40 mph roadway.

The weather that day was referred to as windy, cold, cloudy with periods of sunshine in the affidavits, and the roadway was listed as dry with some wetness on the shoulders.

Court documents also indicate that Bellevue told police that he had consumed marijuana the previous evening, and he consented to submitting blood and urine samples for testing at the Vermont Forensic Laboratory.

Police affidavits also raised the issue of whether Bellevue allegedly tried to leave the scene. However, no related charges were filed against Bellevue during his arraignment yesterday.