Fleeing state police cruiser, drunk driver hits, kills motorcylist: police

In two-hour span last night, collisions with pickup trucks claim lives of two motorcycle drivers

The Vermont State Police is investigating a fatal crash that occurred Thursday night, May 11, in Sheldon involving a pickup truck and a motorcycle. The operator of the motorcycle, 53-year-old Christopher J. Ryea of Enosburg, was traveling east on Shawville Road when he was struck by an oncoming westbound truck, driven by Jason M. Combs, 45, of Enosburg, that had crossed the center line. Ryea was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision occurred less than 45 seconds after VSP Trooper Andrew Underwood had attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the truck, which was traveling south on Vermont Route 78 with its left rear taillight out. The trooper activated his blue lights and siren, at which point Combs turned onto Shawville Road and accelerated rapidly away from the cruiser. Trooper Underwood followed the pickup truck while Combs quickly opened significant distance between himself and the trooper. The truck failed to negotiate a righthand curve, crossed into the oncoming lane, and struck Ryea’s motorcycle head-on. Combs ran from the scene and was chased and subsequently apprehended by Trooper Underwood.

Members of the Vermont State Police, including the Crash Reconstruction Team, responded to the scene to investigate the incident. Evidence indicates speed and impairment were factors in the crash.

Combs was arrested on charges of grossly careless and negligent operation with death resulting; DUI No. 4; attempting to elude; and violating an ignition interlock restriction. He was ordered jailed without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town pending arraignment at 1 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in St. Albans.

Marlboro motorcylist dies in collision with pickup truck – Vermont State Police shortly after 6 pm received a report of a motor vehicle crash on Fort Bridgman Rd near Rinfret Dr, in the Windham County town of Vernon. The crash was reported to be a head on collision involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck.

Police say the motorcycle operator, Samuel Barrows (23) of Marlboro, was traveling north on Fort Bridgman Rd when he attempted to pass another vehicle and collided head-on with a truck which was travelling south in the oncoming lane. Barrows was pronounced deceased on scene by medical personnel.

Categories: Crime

12 replies »

  1. Glad to see our justice system takes care of the innocent people. 4 dui’s now manslaughter. Maybe now something will be done doesn’t help the motorcycle driver’s family though.

  2. Not a big fan of Europe in general, but in terms of DUI they’ve got it right…jail time right up front and then permanent suspension if they reoffend. I would go one further, jail time, labor (trash pick up, whatever). This has got to stop, when will this criminally insane state legislature put down the hammer and PUNISH CRIMINALS???!!!

  3. The Vermont legislators created this and many other problems in Vermont due to their soft on crime policies. Now they are pushing for stricter legislation. Our government has the blood of numerous victims on crime in their hands.

  4. Vermont Legislators, Thank goodness your laser focused on firearms and restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Pay no attention to the real lawlessness and mayhem infecting Vermont (such as this story!). Soon, you’ll have the citizens right where you want them (controlled, obeying and funding your autocratic rule and oppression of the citizenry). Based on results, the majority of Vermont voters who take the time to vote, evidently, are OK with this…

  5. I don’t believe in police car chases, especially if there are helicopters tracking the problem vehicle. They cause way too many problem involving innocent people like here.

    • This is rural Vt, not Los Angeles. We don’t have helicopters to chase down lowlifes

      • No, but the officer already had his plate number and description of the truck. Chasing him caused an unfortunate death. He could have been located later.

      • Maybe not, but you’d be surprised how often Border Patrol assists the VSP with air support.

  6. I’m surprised that at DUI #4 he wasn’t charged with driving with a suspended license. What number of DUI violations do ya get before that “red flag” comes into play?

    • Worse, after three DUI’s, he was able to drive, because he was charged for failing to use the interlock device.

  7. If the people clamor hard enough, the VT Legislature will do what they typically do…find a way to punish law-abiding citizens for the acts of a single irresponsible, repeat offending miscreant. There is nothing wrong with the police chasing an offender, so stop blaming them…that’s what we pay them for.

  8. Have to disagree with Dano reference the “chase” killing the motorist. The drunk driver killed the motorist. Don’t fault the Police. That’s like blaming the gun for killing someone.

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