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Fleeing state police cruiser, drunk driver hits, kills motorcylist: police

In two-hour span last night, collisions with pickup trucks claim lives of two motorcycle drivers

The Vermont State Police is investigating a fatal crash that occurred Thursday night, May 11, in Sheldon involving a pickup truck and a motorcycle. The operator of the motorcycle, 53-year-old Christopher J. Ryea of Enosburg, was traveling east on Shawville Road when he was struck by an oncoming westbound truck, driven by Jason M. Combs, 45, of Enosburg, that had crossed the center line. Ryea was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision occurred less than 45 seconds after VSP Trooper Andrew Underwood had attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the truck, which was traveling south on Vermont Route 78 with its left rear taillight out. The trooper activated his blue lights and siren, at which point Combs turned onto Shawville Road and accelerated rapidly away from the cruiser. Trooper Underwood followed the pickup truck while Combs quickly opened significant distance between himself and the trooper. The truck failed to negotiate a righthand curve, crossed into the oncoming lane, and struck Ryea’s motorcycle head-on. Combs ran from the scene and was chased and subsequently apprehended by Trooper Underwood.

Members of the Vermont State Police, including the Crash Reconstruction Team, responded to the scene to investigate the incident. Evidence indicates speed and impairment were factors in the crash.

Combs was arrested on charges of grossly careless and negligent operation with death resulting; DUI No. 4; attempting to elude; and violating an ignition interlock restriction. He was ordered jailed without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town pending arraignment at 1 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in St. Albans.

Marlboro motorcylist dies in collision with pickup truck – Vermont State Police shortly after 6 pm received a report of a motor vehicle crash on Fort Bridgman Rd near Rinfret Dr, in the Windham County town of Vernon. The crash was reported to be a head on collision involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck.

Police say the motorcycle operator, Samuel Barrows (23) of Marlboro, was traveling north on Fort Bridgman Rd when he attempted to pass another vehicle and collided head-on with a truck which was travelling south in the oncoming lane. Barrows was pronounced deceased on scene by medical personnel.

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