Vermont State Police cruiser
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BURLINGTON — State medical examiners can’t pinpoint the manner of death of a Bennington woman who died on Route 7 in Danby last week after exiting a moving vehicle. Police had suspected suicide.

Emergency responders reported finding the woman, 34-year-old Sarah Smiley, in the road around 5:45 p.m. March 15. She died on scene despite being treated for “critical injuries,” state police said in a release shortly after the incident.

Troopers said they learned that Smiley had been in a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by her mother, heading north on Route 7 when she apparently “intentionally exited the vehicle.”

She died of head injuries due to blunt force trauma of the head, according to a copy of her death certificate, which was certified by Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Her manner of death “could not be determined.” It says her intent for exiting a moving vehicle is unknown. An autopsy wasn’t conducted.

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Smiley, who was born in British Columbia, had worked as a clothing retail sales clerk, the paperwork shows.

Meanwhile, police have cited her mother, Elizabeth Kurman, with driving under the influence during the incident. Kurman, 63, of Bennington, is scheduled to appear April 5 at Rutland Superior criminal court to answer to the charge, according to the state police release.

If you are struggling, there is help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, call or text the Vermont Peer Support Line at 833-888-2557 or dial 2-1-1 to find mental health services in your area.

— Bennington Banner

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