Trooper injured, cruiser damaged in 11-mile chase of Burlington man

Robert Eley

A high-speed police chase, involving a stolen vehicle, ended in the apprehension of a Burlington man, Robert Eley, 40, on Saturday.

State police say the incident began at 10:18 a.m. when officers from the Vermont State Police received a report of a vehicle, previously reported stolen from Burlington, spotted in Swanton. Upon arriving at Swanton Plaza parking lot, where the vehicle was sighted, the vehicle fled the scene, heading south on Interstate 89.

The Swanton Police Department attempted to halt the vehicle with a tire deflation device, but the driver continued to flee, exiting the highway at Exit 20 to continue south on Main Street in St. Albans.

In the ensuing chase, the suspect’s vehicle rammed a marked state police cruiser, causing significant damage and injuring the trooper inside. The chase ended when the suspect crashed into a parked truck on Fairfield Street near Lincoln Avenue in St. Albans City.

After the crash, Eley was taken into custody without further incident. He was ordered held without bail at the Northwest Correctional Center, awaiting arraignment on charges including Gross Negligent Operation, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Grand Larceny, and Attempting to Elude.

The Vermont State Police were aided in the incident by the Swanton Police Department, St. Albans Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, St. Albans Fire Department, and AmCare Rescue Service, the Newport Dispatch reports.

Eley also was charged in court with retail theft in South Burlington in July of this year.

Man threatens Wilson Inn security staff with knife – Craig Adams, 53, of Burlington was arrested by Burlington police November 3 and charged with aggravated assault after he barricaded himself in his room at the Wilson Inn on 189 Church Street following a knife incident.

Adams reportedly threatened private security staff with a knife (from whence the assault charge came) at 4 AM, then locked himself into his room. Police responded with an emergency response team and vehicle. The barricade ended at about 10 AM, with Adams resisting handcuffs and arrest. He was lodged without bail. 

Categories: Burlington, Crime

3 replies »

  1. My question is….who picks up the tab for the destruction? Mr. Eley damaged a police car and a parked truck not to mention the stolen vehicle. Insurance? Why should the vehicle owner’s have their insurance rates go up because this guy decided to steal or damage their car? Might I suggest that Mr. Eley not be sent to jail but rather be made to find a job (good, hard, physical labor) so he can make restitution to the affected parties. Maybe then he will be too busy (and tired) to be out stealing property from other people. And since no one wants to build more prisons…how about bringing back work farms where inmates grow veggies for the local food shelf. I know….what an odd concept! Making criminals responsible for their actions. In Vermont? Never gonna happen.

    • What a novel idea! I love it! These are the types of laws that should be going through the Legislature this coming year!

  2. What would work even cheaper for taxpayers than incarceration is to allow the police to interpret someone using a vehicle as a weapon as an “imminent threat of deadly force” to them and to the general public and to respond proportionately and instantaneously…in other words, it’s time for Mr. Glock to make his appearance to alleviate the threat.