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December 27, 2019

Update: St. Johnsbury barracks / Death Investigation in Thetford

 

STATE OF VERMONT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

VERMONT STATE POLICE

 

NEWS RELEASE

      

CASE#: 19A407232

RANK/TROOPER FULL NAME: Detective Trooper Christopher Pilner                          

STATION: St. Johnsbury                    

CONTACT#: 802-748-3111

DATE/TIME: Early Morning Hours of 12/22/19

INCIDENT LOCATION: U.S. Route 5 near the intersection with Sanborn Road in Thetford.

 

 

VICTIM: Brian Stephens

AGE: 53

CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Farilee, Vermont

 

SUMMARY OF INCIDENT:

Following continued investigation by the Vermont State Police and autopsy at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington, the cause of Brian Stephens’ death has been determined to be smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, and the manner of death, an accident. VSP investigators learned that Mr. Stephens was driving home alone from a party in a 2014 Kia Optima when he left the roadway while trying to negotiate a turn from U.S. Route 5 onto Sanborn Road in Thetford. The vehicle eventually became stuck off the east side of the roadway. The operator of the vehicle attempted to drive the vehicle back onto the roadway, but the front tires were stuck in the soft ground and snow. Investigators believe that while the victim was trying to drive, a fire began within the vehicle engine compartment. That fire spread into the passenger and storage compartments of the vehicle. The operator was able to exit the vehicle but died from his injuries. Investigation indicates alcohol impairment was a factor in the incident. No criminal charges are expected at this time.

 

 

***Initial news release, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019***

The Vermont State Police responded to a report of a burned vehicle located partially in the woods off the side of Rt. 5 in the town of Thetford. A deceased male, who was identified as Brian Stephens, was located next to the vehicle. Stephens’ body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy. The cause of death is pending the results of the autopsy. This death appears to be accidental.