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EXCLUSIVE: Routine traffic stops helping police catch other bad behaviors, contradicting ACLU report

By Michael Bielawski,


Routine traffic stops for simple issues like a non-working headlight or an expired registration sticker can lead to discovering other crimes such as a suspected DUI or driving with a criminally suspended license.



On Sunday early evening police observed multiple motor vehicle violations when they chose to stop a driver on Route 116 in Bristol. What they found in addition was a potential DUI. The driver was observed to be without an ignition interlock device, which is a breathalizer that the driver must pass to start the car. The man was placed under arrest for “suspicion of DUI”.

Just two days earlier on Friday there was another incident stemming from a routine vehicle violation on the Interstate Access Rd. in St. Albans. Once the car was pulled over police realized the driver’s license was under criminal suspension.


An ACLU report from 2023 argues that such routine traffic stops do little to prevent serious crimes. They wrote “As introduced, H. 176 would ensure that the only traffic stops carried out in our state are ones that serve a genuine public safety interest. This bill would put an end to ‘non-public safety’ stops for minor violations like having a broken taillight or an expired registration.”


H. 176 hasn’t gained traction at the Statehouse this year though last year it was introduced by Rep. Taylor Small, P/D-Winooski, and 23 of his colleagues sponsored it.


Other reports: Moose causes car crash


At about 5:30 on Monday morning state police were called about a single vehicle crash in Maidstone. Police arrived and realized that a moose on the road may have caused a car accident and a concussion for the driver.


The State Police report states, “Upon arrival I spoke to the operator Dylan Carney from Clarksville, NH. Carney advised he was traveling North on Vt Route 102 from Lancaster when he swerved for a moose in the roadway, lost control of his vehicle, traveled across the southbound lane of travel and came to an uncontrolled point of rest in the southbound ditch.”


Speeder clocked at 114mph


On Saturday morning just after midnight, a young female driver was observed traveling 114 mph in a 65mph zone on Interstate 91 in Rockingham. Three juveniles were passengers in the car. The driver was arrested for suspicion of DUI.


Man steals ATM, sets it on fire


Police responded to a reported break-in at a restaurant in Newport Center. Not long after they received another report of a truck and cattle trailer ablaze on River Road in North Troy.


After investigating police determined that the trailer was stolen from the Chaput’s Family Farm during the very early hours of Saturday. Inside the trailer was an ATM machine reported stolen from the restaurant in Newport Cetner. The perpetrator was eventually caught by police, its not clear if any money was gotten out of the machine before it was set on fire.


Sleepy driver causes head-on-collision


On Sunday late morning there was a head-oncollision on Red Village Road in Lyndon. It appears a driver may have fell asleep behind the wheel.


“Further investigation revealed Joslyn Richardson fell asleep while driving and struck the other vehicle. Richardson was transported to NVRH for minor injuries.” The other driver had no injuries.


Suspected drunk driver passes out in car


Also on Sunday early afternoon another sleepy driver was found passed out in her car with it still running. She subsequently showed signs of impairment and was arrested for “suspicion of DUI”.


The author is a writer for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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