Vt. man charged in fatal Rowe crash

GREENFIELD — A Vermont man faces motor vehicle homicide and drunken driving charges in connection with an October crash that killed one man and injured another in Rowe.

Timothy D. Baltzer, 43, of Wilmington, Vt., is charged with motor vehicle homicide by operating under the influence of alcohol and operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury.

The Oct. 19 pickup crash took the life of Nicholas Boyd, an 18-year-old from Whitingham, Vt. A second passenger, Thomas Bergeron, 33, of Vermont, was injured.

At about 11:37 that night, police responded to Potter Road for a single-vehicle accident. They found a 1998 Dodge Dakota pickup on its roof, and Baltzer and Bergeron outside of the vehicle, according to a report filed by trooper Alan Gamache.

Boyd was pronounced dead on scene after being found in the truck’s rear seat and responders observed that he had “severe head trauma,” according to the report. Baltzer was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital, and Bergeron was taken to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

Bergeron was hospitalized for several weeks, and suffered loss of mobility and other bodily functions, Gamache wrote.

A blood test at the hospital revealed that Baltzer’s blood alcohol level was 0.193 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to Gamache.

Witnesses gave police a window into the time before the accident.

According to witnesses, Baltzer and Bergeron came to Boyd’s house at about 10 p.m. that night, each holding a beer can, and both staggering as they walked, swaying when they stood in place, and slurring their speech, according to the police report.

The two asked if anyone at Boyd’s was sober and willing to drive Bergeron’s recently purchased truck, to go off-roading, according to the report. Witnesses agreed to follow behind Bergeron’s truck in a second vehicle, and Boyd agreed to drive Bergeron’s truck, though the witnesses told police they lost sight of the three before they got into Bergeron’s vehicle, Gamache wrote.

They left Whitingham and headed to an off-road trail that paralleled high-tension lines from Vermont into Rowe, they told police. At the top of the trail, both vehicles stopped, and the witnesses learned that Baltzer had been driving the truck, he wrote. After some time, they got back into their vehicles, with Baltzer behind the wheel of the Dakota, according to the report.

They took Potter Road back toward Vermont, and the witnesses told police they lost sight of the Dakota as it sped up the road and around a curve. When their vehicle came up to the turn, they saw the Dakota on its roof and wedged against a tree at the bottom of an embankment, Gamache wrote.

Baltzer told police he and Bergeron had been drinking earlier in the day while splitting wood, and went on to say that he had no memory of anything after 4 p.m. that day, Gamache wrote.

A reconstructive investigation of the accident found that the Dakota had been traveling at about 51 mph, according to the report. Gamache noted that there is no posted speed limit on Potter Road, adding that the “critical curve speed” on that section of road was 41 mph, and that speeds in excess of that would cause a driver to lose control around the curve.

Baltzer was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Greenfield District Court, but the event was rescheduled to March 6 after attorney Thomas Merrigan appeared on Baltzer’s behalf.

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