BRATTLEBORO — A Putney man is facing charges of aggravated assault and leaving the scene after police determined he injured a man by hitting him with his SUV. A witness said the two men had argued shortly before the incident.
Oliver Field, 18, pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division. The victim also is 18.
In an affidavit, Trooper Mengbei Wang said the Vermont State Police received a call about a possible hit and run with serious injuries at about 4:30 p.m. Monday. The victim was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
A juvenile witness told police the two men had a verbal argument over the phone before coming into physical contact that day. The witness suggested it might be about money.
The witness told police Field trailed the victim and the juvenile, who were in another car, on Westminster West Road at an excessive speed. When the victim made a right turn onto Sand Hill Road, so did Field, the witness said.
The victim stopped at a pull-off area, and Field drove past. But Field immediately spun around and pulled into the area, where the verbal argument continued, the witness told police. The witness said Field remained in his car, then suddenly accelerated forward and drove directly toward the victim, striking his hip and upper thigh area. He then hit the victim’s car and another parked car.
Wang said the witness described the victim as “conscious but not necessarily responsive” after being hit. An adult who knows Field and the victim said the two men have been friends for a long time, but there have been ups and downs between them, according to the affidavit.
When police found Field at his home, they said he admitted to hitting the victim with his Toyota RAV4. Field told police he had an agreement with the victim to sell him Klonopin, a drug used for anxiety and panic disorder, and the victim agreed to pay him and provide a nicotine vape pen. But the victim did not pay the money, Fields said.
In addition, Field “parked his vehicle and tried the vape pen, and realized it was empty,” stated the section of the affidavit with details about Field’s interview with police. The victim “left in his vehicle and [Field] began to chase after” him.
Field told police the victim took out a long knife and approached him at the pull-off area, then stabbed the driver side of the vehicle and scratched the front hood.
Field “stated he was in fear of his safety, as he was unable to back up due to a large embankment,” stated the affidavit. “To escape from the situation, he drove forward, striking [the victim], as well as the two aforementioned parked vehicles.”
Wang said police found possible stab marks and a scratch mark on the vehicle.
For the felony charge of aggravated assault, Field faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Conditions of release prohibit him from operating a motor vehicle, or contacting the victim and the witness. He also has a curfew.