In just two weeks, the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance reported 4 deadly crashes on vermont roads bringing the total number to 44 in 2020 alone.
And tragically, another occurred Tuesday afternoon.
Ferrisburgh is now mourning the death of two people in a crash in Charlotte. Chester and Connie Hawkins were driving on Route 7 Tuesday afternoon when police say a 16-year-old driver crossed the center line and hit their car head-on.
“He was involved in the community since 1979,” said Ferrisburgh Town Clerk Pam Cousino who worked with 73-year-old Chester Hawkins for 11 years.
She says Mr. Hawkins, who often went by “Chet” wore many hats.
“He was a constable. he was on the planning commission, the zoning board, he was a lister…,” said Cousino.
Cousino says Chet’s wife Connie did bookkeeping for a trucking company. On Facebook, in a group titled “Growing up in Addison County,” Connie and Chet are remembered by their Vergennes Union High School classmates and colleagues as kind, funny, and gentle.
Troopers say the driver of the pick-up was 16. But because of the individual’s age, any other information is confidential. Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George and Deputy State’s Attorney Sally Adams said they could not comment about any possible charges.
In a news release issued Tuesday, it appeared a civil violation complaint was pending.
Deputy Defender General and Chief Juvenile Defender Marshall Pahl explained the process of defending a juvenile in court. It’s important to note he is not affiliated with this case.
“There’s a number of serious felonies in Vermont where a 16-year-old would automatically be in adult court. It’s possible for them to then transfer that case down to the juvenile court if the judge decides that’s appropriate,” said Pahl.
Pahl says we have to wait on the facts of the case. But Vermont is unique in the way it addresses and handles juvenile offenders.
“Vermont is the first state in the country to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from up to age 18..now it is, in Vermont, up to age 19,” said Pahl.
Chet and Connie Hawkins are survived by their son and daughter and grandchildren. Though details of the driver and case are confidential, the family members will have access to this information.