A bucket loader with a giant plow blocks a gap left in a bent fence at the Burlington International Airport, just a few yards from the runway.
"Obviously we want to make sure that no vehicles ever make it to the runway," said Gene Richards of the Burlington International Airport.
Police say Brent Rutledge, 39, of Winooski, intentionally drove his pickup through the security fence at the end of Kirby Road in South Burlington Wednesday morning. After a short joyride down the maintenance road, Rutledge busted through a second fence on Airport Drive.
"It took some force. This is a heavy gauge gate that isn't easily broken. It did substantial damage to the person's car or truck rather, in this case," Richards said.
Officials estimate the crash caused about $10,000 worth of damage to airport property. In addition to the fences, the driver took out a few wing gates near the parking garage before coming to a stop. Police say Rutledge didn't try to flee and was not injured in the crash.
"He was still in his vehicle. He was distraught and disoriented," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.
Investigators do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved. Rutledge is being held at the hospital for a medical evaluation.
"So there's the bigger picture here. We want to make sure he gets the kind of help or treatment that he may need," Higbee said.
Airport security says this is not the first time that someone has crashed through the security fencing. Now, they're hoping the addition of boulders will prevent other drivers from doing so in the future.
"We'll also be doing a security check on the entire airport to see if there's any potential areas of breach in other areas. It's something that we do on a routine basis, but obviously when things like this happen it heightens it up a little bit," Richards said.
Police say breaches like this are illegal. Rutledge is facing unlawful mischief and trespass charges.
Officials say Rutledge never entered the runway and they're not considering his actions to be part of any larger security threat.
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