This article by Mike Donoghue originally appeared May 9 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BURLINGTON — Five Central Vermont teens killed in a fiery two-vehicle crash on Interstate 89 in Williston 2 years ago died from blunt force trauma, the state’s deputy chief medical examiner told a Vermont Superior Court jury Wednesday.
Dr. Elizabeth Bundock offered the testimony on Day 3 of the criminal trial of Steven D. Bourgoin, 38, of Williston.
Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury; Janie Chase Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; and Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown are believed to have died almost instantly in the crash about 11:55 p.m. Oct. 8, 2016.
Bourgoin has pleaded not guilty to five counts of second degree murder for showing wanton disregard toward the teens by speeding and driving the wrong way on I-89. He also had drugs in his system, including high levels of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana, records show.
The doctor said she ruled the deaths homicides. There was no evidence that the victims took any significant breaths after their car caught fire. Four were pinned in the 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, while Harris was ejected — possibly through the sunroof.
Now retired State Police Detective Sgt. Matthew Denis, who was assigned to the medical examiner’s office until January, testified that dental and medical records are normally needed during autopsies to help identify burned victims.
Denis said he made a decision to have the Volkswagen Jetta loaded onto a truck and brought to the state police barracks in Williston so that he could supervise the removal of the four teens still in the wrecked car. He said Harris, who was ejected from the car, and found in the grass in the median was removed by a funeral home.
Read full article at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)