Wednesday December 26, 2012

VERNON -- A moose caused three crashes but no major injuries Sunday night on Interstate 91.

State police said that, just before 7 p.m. on Dec. 23 near mile marker 2 in Vernon, a Ford Focus struck and killed a moose that had run into the passing lane. The car sustained front-end damage.

Two additional cars -- a Honda Accord and another Focus -- then hit the dead moose. One of the cars overturned. Police said the Accord was totaled, while the second Focus sustained undercarriage damage.

The drivers were identified as Daniel P. Tanz, 54; Christina Chapman, 25; and Brian Geenbaur, 45. Police did not say where any of the drivers reside.

Chapman suffered minor cuts, police said. That was the only injury reported.

One northbound lane of I-91 was closed for about 30 minutes after the crash.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that the vast majority of non-hunting moose deaths -- nearly 70 percent since monitoring began in 1980 -- are attributable to motor vehicle crashes.

A moose can stand from 5 to 6.5 feet tall and can weigh from 600 to 1,400 pounds, officials said. A fact sheet distributed by the fish and wildlife department says the animals "present a serious road hazard, especially when their range is densely populated by humans, and Vermont’s human population density is relatively high compared to most moose ranges across North America.


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Officials advise motorists to reduce their speed to 40 mph or lower when encountering "moose crossing" signs on highways. The danger is highest at dawn and dusk.

The moose incident was one of several crashes state police investigated in recent days, including:

-- In Whitingham, a woman driving a 2006 Scion lost control on Route 100 south of Wilmington Cross Road just before 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Wet roads and freezing temperatures were factors, police said.

The driver, 20-year-old Genevieve A. Ritchott of Wilmington, was treated for neck pain at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

-- In Stratton, a New York man summoned police for assistance because his Toyota Rav 4 had slid into a snow bank on Stratton Arlington Road.

Police said 40-year-old Dion Russell "had gone beyond a warning sign that is posted at the end of Stratton Arlington Road. The sign warns motorists that they proceed at their own risk."

Two people on snowmobiles found Russell and his wife and transported them to safety, police said. There were no injuries.

-- In Brattleboro, a northbound Subaru Forester slid off Interstate 91 at 2:45 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Police said 20-year-old Jacob N. Reyes of Brattleboro was cited for "unreasonable and imprudent speed for conditions and hazards" because he was driving approximately 40 mph on the snow-covered roadway.

The car struck a reflector post and a rock ledge in the median. Reyes was not hurt, police said.

-- In Guilford, a Brattleboro woman lost control of her car on Guilford Center Road at 7:40 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, due to poor road conditions.

A Subaru Legacy driven by Margaret Barrand, 67, slid into an embankment and began to turn over before colliding with a utility pole, police said. The car was totaled, but Barrand was not hurt.

-- In Dummerston, at 6:24 a.m. Dec. 19, a Pontiac sedan hit an icy patch and slid off Route 30 near the Newfane town line, ending up in a ditch. The driver, identified as 53-year-old Phillip Litano of Newfane, was not hurt.

-- In Jamaica, at 5:52 p.m. Dec. 19, a log truck struck an embankment and a utility pole and overturned on Route 100, spilling logs across the road. Police said a mechanical failure compromised the air-braking system and caused the crash.

The driver, 53-year-old Eugene E. Bills of Wardsboro, was not hurt.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.