Middlebury woman accused of killing flagger faces new charges

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) A Middlebury woman accused of hitting and killing a construction flagger with her car in August went before a judge on Monday to face new charges.

During a brief five minute hearing at Addison County Court, Jennifer Bergevin pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI and gross negligent operation. Those charges were the initial charges following the August crash that killed construction flagger James Alger.

"My understanding is that she was cited for gross negligent operation and the victim hadn't yet succumbed to his injuries," said Addison County State's Attorney Dennis Wygmans.

With Alger's death and the return of toxicology tests, prosecutors enhanced both counts to death resulting, meaning Bergevin could get up to 15 years in prison. "As soon as we had probable cause to charge for DUI, we did," Wygmans said.

Court paperwork details the moments before and after the crash. One witness reported that Bergevin never touched her brakes. And in a police interview with Bergevin, she admits she never saw Alger in the road, saying "I don't remember much."

Police also released details of a toxicology report showing Bergevin had several prescribed drugs in her blood. Prosecutors say that hindered her ability to drive safely.

Despite the stiffer charges, Bergevin remains free pending trial. She was released on conditions. It's not an option under Vermont law to hold Bergevin. "This doesn't fall under that area, if you will, it has to be a crime of violence, intentional violence," Wygmans said.

Bergevin left court without comment. Alger's family also declined to comment.