The Hardwick Gazette

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State Police News

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 27, the Vermont State Police was called to a report of an unresponsive man in a pickup truck that had driven off the road along Vermont Route 15 in the town of Walden. The vehicle did not strike anything and there was no reported damage. Despite life-saving efforts by a friend of the victim and first responders, the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene. Investigation by VSP indicates the victim, a 52-year-old man from Walden, likely experienced a medical event after having driven off the road and his death does not appear suspicious. An autopsy will be performed at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of death. The Vermont State Police investigation is continuing, but this incident is not considered criminal in nature. No further details are available.

On January 1 at approximately 1 p.m. Troopers with VSP Berlin were notified of a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 89 northbound at MM 60 in the town of Middlesex.

Responding Troopers identified the operator of the vehicle as Chelsea Giroux, of Wolcott. Giroux was transported by rescue to Central Vermont Medical Center as a precaution. While speaking to Giroux at the hospital, Troopers observed several indicators of impairment. Giroux was subsequently arrested for the suspicion of DUI and she was issued a criminal citation to appear at the Washington County Superior Court at a later date and time to answer to the aforementioned charge.

On December 11 at 2:47 p.m. Troopers out of the Williston Barracks responded to Vt. Rte. 15 near Sunny Acres Road in the town of Cambridge for a one car crash. The operator was identified as Jared Jones of North Wolcott. Jones advised he lost control of his vehicle due to the poor road conditions. Jones’ vehicle was totaled after it left the roadway and rolled up against a tree. Jones was transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center as a precaution. Alcohol and speed are factors in this crash and this case is still under investigation. Troopers were assisted by a Warden with Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Cambridge Fire, NEMS, and Stones Automotive. Update: State Police received Jones’ toxicology results which showed his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. On January 7 he was issued a citation ordering him to appear at the Lamoille County Superior Court Criminal Division on January 25 at 12:30 p.m.

On January 9, at approximately 1650 hours, the Vermont State Police responded to a residence on Apple Drive in the town of Craftsbury for a report of a dispute. Based on the initial complaint to 911, when troopers arrived to the area and located Donald Billow, of Albany, on Wild Branch Road, he was handcuffed and detained in the back seat of a state police cruiser. After troopers spoke with the complainant and other witnesses, probable cause was developed to believe Billow threatened an ex-partner of his and her family with a firearm. Subsequent investigation revealed Billow drove to the residence and was presenting indicators of impairment and also was found to have a criminally suspended driver’s license.

While troopers were still on scene investigating, they observed smoke coming out of the cruiser in which Billow was detained. Troopers rushed to the cruiser, opening the rear door and found an open flame on the passenger seat next to where Billow was seated. Billow was quickly removed and the fire was extinguished. Billow was transported by ambulance to North Country Hospital in Newport and treated for smoke inhalation. Billow was later released from the hospital and transported to the Vermont State Police – Derby Barracks for processing.

While at the barracks, troopers reviewed the in-car camera footage and found that Billow, while handcuffed, intentionally started the fire in the cruiser with a lighter. Billow did not sustain any burns as a result of the fire. Arson charges are pending further review from an arson investigator. Billow was jailed at Northern State Correctional Facility and held without bail pending a court appearance scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 10 in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Newport.

Vermont State Police responds to barricaded subject in Hardwick

HARDWICK – Members of the Vermont State Police, including the Crisis Negotiation Unit and the Tactical Services Unit, are on scene early Tuesday, January 10 at a location in Hardwick where a suspect in a domestic assault is barricaded.

The incident, at a home at 1619 Vermont Route 16, has resulted in the closure of the road as of early Tuesday morning. Members of the public should avoid the area and take alternate routes.

The individual is identified as Michael McCuen, 36, a resident of that address. The incident began when a female household member called the Hardwick Police Department at about noon Monday, January 9 to report that she had been assaulted by McCuen. McCuen is known to police and has access to multiple firearms. Hardwick Police contacted the Vermont State Police to request assistance in responding to the call. The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department and the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division also responded.

The victim was able to leave the residence safely, while responding police agencies established a perimeter and began attempting to contact McCuen and persuade him to surrender. As of 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, those efforts were continuing. The victim of the domestic assault suffered minor injuries; no further injuries have been reported.

This incident is contained to the Hardwick home and there is no danger to the community.

No further information is available at this time. The state police will provide updates as the situation unfolds.

Vermont State Police Arrests Barricaded Subject in Hardwick

HARDWICK – Shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday, members of the Vermont State Police Tactical Service Unit were able to take Michael McCuen into custody. There were no reports of significant injuries. He was transported to the hospital for evaluation.

As of 5:30 a.m., Vermont Rte. 16 has reopened.

The investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing, including what charges McCuen might face. The Hardwick Police Department is the lead investigative agency on the underlying incident, and further questions regarding this case should be directed to them.

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