Heroin use blamed for Springfield man's "spectacular" SUV crash in Ludlow
Ordered held without bail on numerous charges
LUDLOW, VT - A telephone pole was all that prevented a Springfield man who was allegedly "nodding off" after having just injected heroin from crashing his SUV through the front of a house alongside Route 103 in Ludlow first thing Monday morning, according to the police officer who investigated the drug-related crash.
Britain Stocker, 24, was in court Monday afternoon where he was ordered held without bail after he entered innocent pleas to a slate of charges including drugged driving - second offense, grossly negligent operation of a vehicle, driving despite a license that was suspended for drunk driving, violating a court-ordered conditions of release and violation of probation.
“It was quite a spectacular accident which could have been even worse,” Judge Theresa DiMauro said Monday afternoon from the bench after she noted that Stocker had been placed on probation last year and yet was racking up charges in recent weeks continuing through to “literally today.”
Just last month, Stocker was in the same courtroom where he pleaded innocent to a felony count alleging that back in March he'd sold heroin to an informant who was cooperating with detectives from the Vermont Drug Task Force. The alleged drug transaction took place at the home of Frank and Danielle Garceau which sits right next to the entrance to Union Street Elementary School in Springfield. The Garceaus, and several people who were hanging out at their home earlier this year, have recently pleaded innocent to felony heroin sales charges.
Today’s crash, which happened about 40 minutes after midnight near Burtco Self Storage, destroyed a mailbox, a utility pole, and Stocker’s gray 2017 Toyota Rav4.
During his arraignment, Stocker, who recently got a job as a concrete worker, expressed an interest in attending in-patient substance abuse treatment.
Ludlow Police Officer Jonathan Waldmann said there was no evidence of skid marks on the dirt or the grass leading up to the crash scene where the SUV left the pavement, suggesting there was no attempt at braking before it travelled about 40 feet and struck a group of rocks that were holding up the mailbox in front of the residence at 500 Route 103 South. The Rav4 then went over a hundred feet further and broke off the base of the power pole, shoving it back eight feet, setting off all the airbags in the SUV and causing it rotate 90-degrees before it came to a stop.
Waldmann said he arrived on the scene to find Stocker’s passenger, Alexis Olmstead, 25, had gotten out and walked across the road to the north side of the road where she was lying in the grass saying that her chest and back hurt.
OImstead, who was later transported from the scene by Ludlow Ambulance, told the officer “She had just met (Stocker) two days prior to this crash…(he) had stolen some money from her and she was meeting with him so he could repay her,” Officer Walkmann recounted, adding that according to Olmstead the pair then “both drove to Ludlow to purchase heroin and pulled off the roadway by Fletcher Farm to consume the drugs…(they) did three bags even though they were known to be very strong.”
“She reported that after this (Stocker) became very sleepy and began nodding off as he began to drive back towards Springfield. Olmstead advised that she wanted to drive but (Stocker) insisted on driving…(he) began speeding up just prior to the crash and she remembered seeing him go off the roadway and striking the mailbox and then hitting the utility pole.”
Officer Waldmann said when he tried to interview Stocker at the scene Stocker “continued to nod off” and initially claimed he’d fallen simply asleep and hadn’t used heroin since the previous morning.
“He was barely able to stay awake while I was talking to him and I regularly had to wake him to continue our conversation,” Waldmann noted in his report, adding that at one point Stocker “advised that he had used heroin as well as Xanax 'earlier in the night’.”
After Stocker was briefly checked over by physicians at Springfield Hospital, he was lodged at the Springfield jail for the remainder of the night and while speaking to the guards there Stocker allegedly explained to them “that he consumes approximately 25-to-30 bags of heroin per day,” Waldmann wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.
Stocker was placed on probation back in October after he struck a plea deal that saw a burglary charge from May 2016 amended down to convictions for unlawful trespass and selling stolen property. Those charges stemmed from the thefts of chainsaws and a welding helmet from a relative’s garage in a crime that Ludlow Police Officer Catherine Warner wrote in court documents was fueled by the heroin habits of both Stocker and this girlfriend at the time. Stocker received suspended 3-to-9 month sentences and two year’s worth of probation after he admitted to having taken the items and arranged for his then-girlfriend to trade them in for cash at a pawn shop in Rutland since he was not able to present a valid driver’s license.
Britain Stocker, 24, of Springfield listens to advise from his public defender, attorney Mike Shane, during Monday afternoon's arraignment
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