POLICE: Driver In Walden Head-On Had 15 Different Drugs In her System

Trooper Jason Schlesinger investigates a two-car crash on Route 15 in Walden on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, while rescue personnel work to extricate the driver of a Toyota Corolla that spun 180 degrees after colliding with the other vehicle. (Photo by Dana Gray)

When a Hardwick woman admitted she took a lot of drugs before she crashed head-on into an oncoming car on Route 15 in Walden last summer, she wasn’t kidding.

That’s according to newly released court documents filed by Deputy Caledonia County State’s Attorney Maria Byford.

Dawn Hill, 54, pleaded not guilty in Caledonia Superior Court Monday to misdemeanor charges of drugged driving and reckless or gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle and was released on conditions by Judge Michael J. Harris.

Caledonia Superior Court

According to an affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Tpr. Jason Schlesinger, Hill was seriously injured in the crash with broken legs and internal injuries and had to be extricated from the wreckage of her 2009 Toyota Corolla. Hill was then air-lifted by helicopter from a nearby field to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, N.H.

But police said Hill was conscious and talking to witness Jenny Rafuse, 39, during the rescue.

“Rafuse told Sgt. (Russ) Finn that she asked Hill if she had taken any medications or drugs and Hill’s response was to the effect of ‘I took a lot of drugs,” wrote Tpr. Schlesinger in his report. “Rafuse told Sgt. Finn that Hill’s pupils were constricted and described them as pinpoint and glossy.”

Hill did not say what kind of drugs she had taken but that question was eventually answered by a blood sample taken from Hill which tested positive for the presence of 15 different drugs.

“The blood was transported to the Vermont Forensic Laboratory where it tested positive for Meth, Barbituates, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine, Cannabinoids, Dextromethorphan, Fentanyl, Meprobamate, Methadone, Opiates, Opioids, Phencyclidine, TCA, Tramadol and Zolpidem,” wrote Tpr. Schlesinger.

Police said they also recovered Hill’s purse at the scene which contained 25 glassine bags and “5 plastic straws which were cut to about 3-inch lengths and had a white powdery substance inside,” according to the report.

Police said Hill was eastbound near the intersection of Route 215 when her car crossed the center line and struck an oncoming 2018 Toyota Highlander driven by Tanya O’Brien, 38, of Danville.

The Corolla spun around 180 degrees and came to rest in the middle of the road. O’Brien’s Toyota Highlander came to rest off the south side of the road. O’Brien was taken to Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital by CALEX where she was treated and released for minor injuries. O’Brien was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the police report.

If convicted of both charges Hill faces a possible sentence of up to four years in prison and $5,750 in fines.

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