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Bourgoin's Lawyers Enter ‘Not Guilty’ Pleas On All Charges For Fatal I-89 Crashes

Glenn Russell
Burlington Free Press/Pool
At the Friday arraignment for 36-year-old Steven Bourgoin of Williston at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Bourgoin's lawyers entered not guilty pleas on all seven charges against him.

Lawyers for 36-year-old Steven Bourgoin of Williston entered not guilty pleas on his behalf in response to all seven charges Bourgoin faces for allegedly causing a series of crashes on Interstate 89 Sunday morning, killing five teenagers and injuring a number of other people.

Bourgoin was wheeled into a conference room at the University of Vermont Medical Center for the Friday morning arraignment, though he didn’t speak and it wasn’t clear if he was aware of his surroundings.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan charged Bourgoin with five counts of second-degree murder because the evidence suggests Bourgoin was intentionally behaving in an extremely dangerous way.

“We charged second-degree murder, which is an intentional act under that standard of a wanton disregard for the value of human life,” Donovan said.

Bourgoin faces two other charges. Prosecutors charged him with a felony for allegedly stealing a Williston police SUV after the initial crash, and a misdemeanor for careless and negligent driving in the police vehicle.

Audio: Chittenden County State's Attorney TJ Donovan provided details of the events surrounding the string of crashes on I-89. This audio may be upsetting to some listeners.

In the immediate aftermath of the crashes on I-89 in Williston, Donovan was careful not to say that Bourgoin was the driver of a Toyota Tacoma that ran into a car full of teenagers, killing all of them. At the arraignment Friday, Donovan said the investigation provided solid evidence that Bourgoin was the driver of the pickup.

"We charged second-degree murder, which is an intentional act under that standard of a wanton disregard for the value of human life." - TJ Donovan, Chittenden County State's Attorney

“At 11:30 that night, Mr. Bourgoin’s neighbor saw Mr. Bourgoin get into the Toyota Tacoma,” Donovan said. “Mr. Bourgoin was known to be the only person who operated the Toyota Tacoma, and he drove out of his driveway in such a dangerous manner at 11:30, which is roughly 15 minutes before the first crash, that the neighbor indicated that he was concerned that Mr. Bourgoin was going to get into an accident.”

Donovan said a witness at the scene of the first crash also told police that he or she had seen “an individual who matched Mr. Bourgoin’s description and was wearing clothing that he was later identified in … stated to this eyewitness, ‘I must have lost control. I’m not sure what happened.’”

According to police, Bourgoin then stole the SUV that a Williston Police officer had arrived in to respond to the crash. Bourgoin allegedly drove the police vehicle away from the scene of the wreck before turning around and driving into the crashed Toyota pickup at over 100 miles per hour.

Bourgoin’s lawyer said that “we have reason to believe he’s not competent at this time,” and asked the judge to order an evaluation of Bourgoin’s competency to stand trial. The judge ordered the evaluation. Donovan said he has “no reason to believe that Bourgoin is not competent.”

Bourgoin remains a patient at the University of Vermont Medical Center, where he is in the custody of Vermont’s Department of Corrections. He is being held without bail.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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