Two Franklin County men pleaded guilty to abandoning a junk boat and setting it adrift on the Missisquoi River.
Wayne Bailey, 68, of Swanton and Louis Bates, 49, of St. Albans admitted they disposed of the boat last summer on the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Federal judge ordered Bailey to pay $684 in restitution and a $300 fine and Bates to pay $400 in restitution and a $200 fine. The restitution reimburses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the costs of disposing of the boat.
The offense is a Class B misdemeanor and carried a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. In determining the fine amount, Magistrate Judge Doyle considered the defendants’ limited means to pay a larger fine.
According to court records, in the early summer of 2021, Wayne Bailey bought a 19 ½ foot long Bayliner boat for $150. The boat was manufactured in 1989. Bailey removed the engine from the boat and sold the engine. Rather than paying to dispose of the boat properly, Bailey devised a plan to set the junk boat adrift in the Missisquoi River. Bailey, however, did not have a tow hitch on his vehicle so he recruited Bates to use Bates’s truck to tow the boat to the Missisquoi River.
After dark on the evening of July 15, Bates towed the boat to Louie’s Landing boat ramp on the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, and Bailey followed in his own vehicle. Bates then backed the boat trailer into the river, and Bailey unhooked the boat and set it adrift. The next day FWS personnel discovered the boat. The engine was gone, but the remaining gas tank contained 4 ½ gallons of gas. The FWS incurred about $1,084 in costs for the proper disposal of the boat and the associated administrative expenses.
ATV Crash, DUI #5 lands man in jail – A 45-year-old man from Jay was arrested for his 5th DUI following an ATV crash in Troy May 30.
Authorities were notified of the crash on Vermont Route 100, near Autumn Ridge, at around 7:00 p.m. Police say Winston Cote was operating the ATV in a reckless manner, causing him to roll the vehicle. Responding troopers say they observed indicators of impairment while speaking with Cote.
Cote was found to have multiple previous felony convictions and is considered a habitual offender. He was transported to Northern State Correctional Facility for the charges of DUI #5, negligent operation, driving with a criminally suspended License x2, and habitual offender. He was ordered held without bail until his court date.
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