Police Reports

Three beltless drivers die over weekend

Three Vermonters died in single-vehicle accidents on rural highways over the weekend, Vermont State Police said. All three victims were driving in good weather conditions. All were thrown from their vehicles. None wore seat belts.

Scott Rafus, 51, of Mt. Tabor, died following a single-vehicle rollover crash that occurred about 5 pm Sunday July 18 on Danby Pawlet Rd. in Danby.

Upon arrival to the scene, Troopers located a maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer that came to a position of uncontrolled rest, overturned on the roadway. Ejected from the vehicle, Rafus was transported by ambulance to the Rutland Regional Medical Center, where he died.

Initial investigation revealed that Rafus was travelling westbound on Danby Pawlet Rd., when he drove off the north side of the roadway, which ultimately caused his vehicle to roll and come to a position of rest, overturned, in the westbound lane of travel. 

Rafus was not wearing a seat belt. Road conditions were clear and mostly dry.

Shortly after 3 AM Saturday, police and rescue responded to a single vehicle crash located near Claflin Farm Road on Route 7, Charlotte.  Gregory Ouellette, 22, was not wearing a seat belt when he was ejected from the 2006 Ford truck.

Police say the vehicle was traveling southbound on Route 7, when the vehicle crossed the oncoming lane of travel, struck a guard rail, and rolled. The operator was ejected from the vehicle. Weather and road conditions were clear.

8 pm Saturday night, Tanner Wincek, 19, of Halifax was ejected from the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving after in crashed into a tree along Reed Hill Road in Halifax.

Vermont State Police say the vehicle failed to maneuver a turn in the roadway, losing control and rolling over, causing the collision. The operator and passenger were ejected from the vehicle during the crash. The operator succumbed to his injuries on scene. A passenger, Destiny Hubbard, 19, of Halifax was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center facing non-life-threatening injuries.

Neither were wearing seat belts. Road conditions were clear and dry.

Cover photo credit dpsfans.com.

Categories: Police Reports

4 replies »

  1. As much as I disapprove of the government telling me what I have to do “for my own good” or the good of the collective, seat belts, and helmets work. I wore seat belts habitually before it was the law, and I was involved in a motorcycle accident that probably would have killed me, if not for my brain bucket. Just for the record, I’d have been wearing a helmet even if it were not the law at the time.

  2. Please let’s not let a quirk of statistics regarding people’s individual choices for their wellbeing be used by safety-nazi legislators and bureaucrats to push Vermont’s laws toward primary enforcement of the seat belt law. The choice to drive or ride beltless is one of the last vestiges of self-imposed Darwinism that is still allowed to exist. It is stupid to be in a moving car without benefit of seat belts so if the stupid wish to remove themselves from the gene pool, so be it. Our liberal government is based on just the opposite of Darwinism, to help those least fit to reproduce the most. Something needs to balance that out a bit.

  3. This is sad to hear.

    Seems to me to be an awful lot of not paying attention. No other cars were involved, road conditions were clear, and all 3 accidents the cars veered off the road seemingly on their own.

    Out of curiosity I looked and it seems as though accidents and deaths were up significantly ~20% compared to 2019 all across the US (+109% this year in VT, the highest in the nation)….

    It would make sense that we all did less driving (I know that I personally didn’t do so well behind the wheel for a short time after the lockdowns stopped) and that would lend to us not driving as well but 109% is a huge jump.

    Just spit balling but we all know what’s different this year vs. last year? VT is the highest vaccinated state…


  4. Wearing a seat belt should always be a choice, just as one should always have the choice to be stupid and suffer the consequences.