Unhappy farmer drives tractor over fleet of police cars
A Vermont farmer, reportedly angry over a minor drug arrest a month ago, came to town loaded for bear - the local police force that is.
Roger Pion allegedly used a large tractor to flatten six parked police cars and an unmarked police van belonging to the Orleans County Police Department in Newport, VT, on Thursday, Aug. 2.
The frustrated officers had no vehicles left to pursue him in as he left the scene in the lumbering tractor.
In fact, due to the heat, they were inside holding a meeting with the windows closed and the air conditioning on, and weren't aware of what was happening to their cruisers until someone called it in.
The Burlington (VT) Free Press reported that damages from the incident were about $250,000. All the cars were parked and no one was in them at the time of the incident and no one was hurt.
Five of the damaged vehicles were fully marked red, white and black cruisers and two were unmarked, including a transport van. An eighth car in the same parking lot, belonging to the department's bookkeeper, was pushed out of the way by the tractor in an effort to get at the cruisers and had minor damage.
The cars that were destroyed were parked in three rows and represented more than half of the fleet owned by the department.
The cruisers - several of which contained extra equipment including laptop computers and radar - were each valued at about $40,000 fully equipped.
Pion, 34, was jailed for lack of $15,000 bail and was being charged with seven counts of felony unlawful mischief and one misdemeanor count of unlawful mischief on suspicion of damaging the cars, a local police source said.
The farmer, who used a tractor belonging to his parents, is also accused of leaving the scene of an accident, grossly negligent operation and aggravated assault on Newport City police based on allegations that he tried to back the tractor into a city cruiser after fleeing the original scene.
The red tractor allegedly used by Pion had six-foot tandem wheels on the back and slightly smaller tandem wheels on the front, according to one eye witness.