Lawsuit targets Vt. sheriff’s dept., off-duty deputy convicted of road rage

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Orange County Sheriff and a former deputy have been named in a federal civil lawsuit stemming from a 2019 armed road rage incident in Williamstown.

An Orange County jury in April convicted 51-year-old William Pine of aggravated assault and lying to police following the October 2019 incident in Williamstown. Authorities say Pine was off duty when he confronted Nathan Lyonnaise and Kevin Goodale, who were driving on Stone Road. They say Pine tailgated them and blocked their car with his truck. As the two attempted to get away, Pine fired two shots at the car, narrowly missing them.

Michael Shane, the lawyer for both victims is seeking damages and is trying to hold Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak accountable as well. “A lot of variability sheriff’s department to sheriff’s department. You have some that provide the very best law enforcement around and you have others that chronically hire people with dangerously violent tendencies. And in this case, this is the kind of environment that Mr. Bohnyak fostered,” Shane said.

According to the complaint filed in federal court, the sheriff was aware that Pine was “dangerously violent and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.” It also alleges that Pine was involved in a separate road rage incident while working for the Berlin Police Department in 2016 or 2017 which is on his file.

Sheriff Bohnyak declined an interview and sent a statement that reads, in part: “Just because allegations are raised in a complaint does not mean that they are true. We do not believe that the plaintiffs can prove the facts asserted. They are not accurate. The lawsuit is a civil case, seeking money damages. You can expect that the department and I will dispute that there is any basis for liability.”

Officials say Pine is currently receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Massachusetts.

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Police: Off-duty sheriff’s deputy shot at vehicle