Day Two of Bourgoin trial: Videos, testimony recount horror of I-89 crash

Local News

On the second day of Steven Bourgoin’s murder trial, police dash-cam and cell-phone video and powerful testimony painted a vivid picture of the October 8, 2016, crash on I-89 that killed five teenagers.

Prosecutors say Bourgoin drove the wrong way on I-89 and rammed a Jetta carrying Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.

Bourgoin has been charged with five counts of second-degree murder.

After the initial crash, prosecutors say, Bourgoin stole Williston Police officer Eric Shepard’s cruiser and sped off. He then came back toward the crash scene, passing Sgt. Brian Claffy’s cruiser before striking his own damaged vehicle and several others.

“Based on what I saw at the time, I thought it was going 100 plus [miles per hour],” Claffy testified on Tuesday.

Michael Plunkett was behind the wheel of a vehicle Bourgoin allegedly hit. Plunkett had pulled over to the side of the road when the cruiser struck his vehicle, causing it to spin and roll over.

In a cell phone video played for jurors that captured the impact of the crash, Plunkett can be heard screaming “Oh God Oh God.” He was hospitalized with numerous broken bones, including a fractured vertebrae.

Others who were there reflected on the horror of that night.

Mary-Ryan Lambert, who was on her way home from a night in Burlington with her sister, testified that she suffered a concussion, broken ribs, nerve damage and a spinal compression.

“I went to hug my sister. I mean, we were both like ‘Ok, well, this is it,'” she recalled.

Allie Harris, another witness, said, “I laid myself in my passenger seat and felt my car get hit.”

Laura Howland, a nurse who pulled over to help, said, “I know that there was something that came through my windshield,” said “I prayed that I wasn’t going to get killed. It was horrendous.”

State trooper Matthew Nadeau, who was with the Richmond Police at the time, responded to the crash.

“I had never seen anything like that before,” Nadeau said Tuesday. “Nothing even close.”

Jurors heard audio of Bourgoin screaming loudly after the crash as police tried to arrest him and medical professionals treated him.

Bourgoin’s defense attorney Robert Katims is mounting an insanity cse on Bourgoin’s behalf. During opening statements, Katims told the jury Bourgoin was delusional at the time of crash.

The jury will learn more when the defense presents its case.

Prosecutors will continue presenting its evidence Wednesday. They are expected to call more crash witnesses, first responders and investigators, as well as a witness from the chief medical examiner’s office.

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