Vermont State Police cruiser
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BENNINGTON — A Bennington County sheriff’s deputy who crashed his patrol vehicle into an SUV in February was fined after pleading no contest to two traffic violations. The sheriff’s office said the deputy resigned after the crash.

Eaden Ryan, 23, of Pawlet, accepted responsibility Friday for two traffic tickets: failing to drive on the right side of the road, as well as driving at an imprudent speed under the road conditions.

At a brief hearing in the Judicial Bureau, the court consented to reducing Ryan’s fine from $440 to $150 for both tickets, as part of his plea agreement with the state. Judge Howard Kalfus also ordered that four points be deducted from his driver’s license.

State police earlier reported that in the mid-morning of Feb. 5, Ryan was heading north on Route 30, in Rupert, when his Ford Explorer crashed into a southbound Jeep Wrangler. An investigation showed Ryan lost control of his patrol vehicle on a curve due to the snowy road conditions. He crossed into the opposite lane of travel and struck the SUV.

No one was injured, but both vehicles suffered significant damage, according to state police.

Trooper Raymond Witkowski, who investigated the incident, had asked the court on Friday if Ryan’s point deduction could be waived. The judge refused after learning that the crash resulted in damage to another person’s property.

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Ryan earlier contested the tickets, according to court records.

The Bennington County Sheriff’s Department said Ryan resigned in February, sometime after the crash. He joined the law enforcement agency in July 2019, and his reason for leaving wasn’t clear, said BCSD Capt. Andrew Hurley.

Court records also show that in April 2018, Ryan had pleaded no contest to a speeding ticket in the town of Bennington. He had been driving 10 mph over the 30 mph posted speed limit and was issued a fine.

When asked for comment on the recent case, Sheriff Chad Schmidt referred the Banner to the department’s spokesman.

In an Associated Press report following the crash, department spokesman Lt. Lloyd Dean said the agency was conducting an internal review into the incident and that “any possible disciplinary action would be between the Sheriff and employee.”

Ryan could not be reached for comment.

Contact Tiffany Tan at ttan@benningtonbanner.com or @tiffgtan on Facebook and Twitter.