Alleged Drunk Driver Jailed on Fatal Crash Charges - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Alleged Drunk Driver Jailed on Fatal Crash Charges

Nick Fournier Nick Fournier
Shawn Burritt Shawn Burritt

Colchester, Vermont - November 17, 2007

Franklin County is mourning the death of a recent Missisquoi Union High School graduate. The teenager was killed in a car crash early this morning. And police say the collision was caused by a drunk driver -- going the wrong way.

It was an accident that never should have happened, but for the other driver, who police say now faces his fourth charge of Driving While Intoxicated - This time, with death resulting.

The accident happened in the northbound lane of I-89, about 1500 feet south of exit 16 in Colchester shortly after midnight Saturday morning. It was a head-on collision that took the life of Nick Fournier, 18, of Swanton.

"The vehicle that was hit that was northbound, did attempt to swerve to the left and head toward the median to avoid being struck, but unfortunately was unable to do so and was struck by the other vehicle," said Vermont State Police Trooper, Michelle LeBlanc.

Fournier graduated from Missisquoi Union High School last spring. His many friends said goodbye on the Facebook web site. Meanwhile, police released a mug shot of the driver they say caused the fatal crash, Shawn Burritt, 32, of Jericho.

Police say Burritt entered the off ramp at exit 16 and drove the wrong way, headed southbound in the northbound lane. He slammed into an oncoming car in which Fournier was riding in the back seat without a seat belt.

Police say the wrong way driver fled from the accident scene on foot but was caught shortly afterward by Winooski and Colchester police officers. The driver of the car in which Fournier was riding, Cole Johnson, 18, of Enosburg, was wearing a seat belt and survived, although the car was totaled. "The kids were home on college break, were just out having a good time, and unfortunately were in the wrong place at the wrong time," LeBlanc said.

As the day dawned, messages of condolences piled up on the student web site. Nick Fournier was dead at eighteen, the victim of a driver whom police say was drunk at the wheel.

So far, police have charged Shawn Burritt with DWI- 4th offense, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with license suspended, violations of release conditions and careless and negligent driving. 

He was held for lack of $100,000 dollars cash bail on suspicion of drunk driving. Police say Burritt refused a breathalyzer on the scene. Police say they took a blood sample instead. He'll be arraigned on Monday.

Andy Potter - WCAX News

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