A farmer who was arrested last month expressed his displeasure Thursday afternoon in Newport by driving a heavy tractor over seven police vehicles
owned by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, authorities said.
State police estimated the damage at about $250,000. No one was hurt.
, 34, was jailed for lack of $15,000 bail at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport to await arraignment Friday morning on 11 charges.
“It’s more than half our fleet. We have 11 cars,” Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks told the Burlington Free Press. He said the cruisers were in three rows.
He said all the vehicles were insured. Brooks estimated that the cruisers averaged about $40,000 fully equipped. He said at least one cruiser had a laptop in it. Other equipment, such as radar, were in the vehicles when the tractor ran them over.
“It’s pretty much the biggest tractor you can get,”
Newport City Police Chief Seth DiSanto said.
“It was a massive tractor. It has four 6-foot tandem wheels on the back. It was red. It must be at least a 15-ton tractor,” Newport Express Publisher Ken Wells said shortly after the incident. The tractor had slightly smaller tandem tires on the front.
The tractor was owned by the suspect’s parents, Armand and Linda Pion of Newport, police said.
It was unclear why Pion might have taken out his wrath on the Sheriff’s Department when he was arrested by a neighboring agency.
Newport police arrested Pion on July 3 on charges of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana, said DiSanto, a former Shelburne police officer in his first week as Newport chief.
Pion was issued a citation in those cases ordering him to appear in Superior Court next Tuesday, DiSanto said. Pion also was jailed that night at the request of the Vermont Probation and Parole Office.
Brooks said he and a couple deputies were inside their office Thursday when a 911 call came in — and a car horn started going off in one of the crushed cruisers.
Brooks said he ran to a nearby service station where another cruiser was being worked on and jumped in to pursue the tractor, but soon learned that Newport City police had stopped the tractor about two miles away.