By Evan Johnson
KILLINGTON—A Rochester (Vt.) man is facing felony charges stemming from a single-vehicle crash last week that left his mother dead.
Joseph Mailhot pleaded not guilty to two counts of gross negligent operation with death resulting and DUI #1-
drug with death resulting at his arraignment, Friday, Oct. 6 in Vermont Superior Court, Criminal Division.
These charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment or fines of up to $15,000 or both.
According to a press release from the Killington Police Department, Joseph Mailhiot, age 40 of Rochester, was driving north on Route 100 on Wednesday, Oct. 4, with his mother, Detra Coltey Mailhot, age 63, also of Rochester, when his 2007 Toyota Tacoma pickup left the east side of the road, struck several trees and came to rest facing east.
Joseph Mailhiot was able to extract himself from the car. Detra Coltey Mailhot was transported by helicopter to Rutland Regional Medical Center and later died from injuries sustained in the crash.
According to the affidavit filed with the court, Mailhiot told responding police a truck crossed into his lane causing him to swerve off the road. In conversation with officers, Mailhiot was observed swaying back and forth while standing and was unsteady on his feet. During conversation, Mailhiot appeared to fall asleep multiple times. After refusing to submit a preliminary breath test, Mailhiot completed standard field sobriety exercises and was transported to the Rutland City Police Department for further evaluation by a drug recognition expert.
During an interview, Mailhiot told police he had not been sleeping regularly and estimated he hadn’t slept in approximately three days. He said he had used Oxycodone, marijuana and heroin that morning and fell asleep multiple times during the interview. He agreed to provide a sample of his blood for drug analysis at the Vermont Forensic Laboratory, the results of which have not yet been released.
Mailhiot has a prior DUI conviction in the state in 1998 and a prior negligent operation conviction in 2003.
Mailhot was released on conditions to undergo an assessment with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and to follow recommendations from that assessment.
He is also required to provide written notice to the state that he has complied with these instructions. The next hearing has been set for Nov. 6.