It was a scene straight out of a monster truck derby, but it happened in the parking lot of a Vermont police station. A local farmer, likely upset over his recent arrest for marijuana possession and resisting arrest, took his frustration out on the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.
Police say Roger Pion, 34, careened the tractor through the parking lot, flattening the neatly lined-up squad cars. The officers inside the headquarters were unaware of the damage being done, until a 911 call summoned them to their very own parking lot. When they left the building to survey the damage, they saw seven of their vehicles laying in ruin – five marked cruisers, one unmarked car and a transport van.
(PHOTOS: Behind New York City’s ‘Police Work’)
“It’s more than half our fleet. We have 11 cars,” Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks told the Burlington Free Press. Their first thought was to catch up with the demolition derby driver, but that task wasn’t so simple. Pion hadn’t driven very far in the lumbering, slow-moving tractor, but “[we] had nothing to pursue him with,” Brooks told the Associated Press. Before they could track down another sheriff’s cruiser, the department got word that local Newport City police had stopped the tractor two miles away in the small city of 5,000 people located just 10 miles from the Canadian border.
“It was a massive tractor. It has four 6-foot tandem wheels on the back,” Newport Express Publisher Ken Wells told the Free Press. “It must be at least a 15-ton tractor.” The seven cars that were crushed were worth an estimated $250,000 according to the Vermont State Police. Pion has been charged on 14 counts, including seven of felony unlawful mischief for each vehicle flattened.
But the irony is Pion’s original (and lesser) alleged crime had nothing to do with the Orleans County Sheriff. Pion’s pot arrest came from the Newport City police on July 3, who told him appear in court next Tuesday. That appearance has been all but crushed now as Pion sits in a local jail, booked on $50,000 bail.