Police Reports

Woman dies after throwing self from moving car

The Vermont State Police are investigating the death of a Bennington woman that occurred on U.S. Route 7 in the town of Danby Monday, March 15. 

State police from the Rutland Barracks responded at 5:42 p.m. to an emergency call of a possible vehicle crash with injury at 615 U.S. Route 7 in Danby. Upon arrival on scene, troopers located the victim with critical injuries receiving medical treatment in the road, and a 2020 black Jeep Grand Cherokee stopped nearby. The victim was subsequently identified as Sarah E. Smiley, 34, of Bennington.

Following further investigation, troopers determined that no crash had occurred, and that Smiley had been a passenger in the northbound Jeep when she apparently intentionally exited the vehicle. The speed the Jeep was traveling at the time is under investigation. Lifesaving efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, and the victim was pronounced dead on scene. The death is being investigated as a suspected suicide. 

Troopers spoke with the Jeep’s operator, identified as Elizabeth Kurman, 63, of Bennington. Kurman is the victim’s mother. She displayed signs of impairment, underwent roadside exercises, and then was brought to the Rutland Barracks to be processed on suspicion of DUI. She was cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court, Criminal Division, in Rutland at 10 a.m. April 5, 2021, to answer a charge of DUI.  

U.S. 7 was closed for nearly four hours during the investigation, which involved members of the Vermont State Police Field Force and Criminal divisions and the Crash Reconstruction Team. State police was aided on scene by the Danby Mt. Tabor Volunteer Fire Department and the Northshire Rescue Squad.  

The victim’s body was transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death. 

State police’s investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information that might be relevant to the case is asked to call the Rutland Barracks at 802-773-9101. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.  

Categories: Police Reports

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