by CELINA ARZOLA
Vermont State Police arrested Steven D. Bourgoin, of Williston, on Tuesday, charging him with reckless or gross negligent vehicle operation, manslaughter, and operating a vehicle without owner consent after he allegedly slammed into a total of eight cars late Saturday night.
Bourgoin, 35, was driving northbound on a southbound lane of Interstate 89 and crashed into a car filled with five high school students. Mary Harris, 16, and Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Janie Cozzi, 15, and Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury. They had all been students at Harwood Union High School in Vermont, police said. All five students were killed at the scene.
A Williston Police officer arrived at the scene shortly after the crash and tried to extinguish the fire after pulling out one of the victims and attending to them. Bourgin allegedly took his cruiser turned around the car and sped away in the wrong direction again striking seven other vehicles. He was thrown from the car, which then burst into flames, in the final crash.
Bourgoin, who was seriously injured in the crashes, is being treated at the University of Vermont Health Center. The warrant was served to his hospital room and he was immediately placed in the custody of the Vermont Department of Corrections.
At least four of the cars hit by Bourgoin were totaled. Police reported that residents from Vermont, New York, and Georgia were hit while passing through. There were 14 people injured and 5 were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
There was a memorial held on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, at Harwood Union High School for the lives of the students they lost. They were all in their junior year. “This is an unprecedented tragedy; we have suffered a tremendous loss. These students were vibrant members of our school community, actively involved and all with a promise for a bright future,” Principal Amy Rex said in a statement. Bourgoin, who would face 20 years to life in prison on each murder count if convicted, is to be arraigned Friday in a conference room of the hospital. His condition has been upgraded from critical to good.