Questions Remain After Truck Driver Fatally Struck While Walking Near Broken Down Rig
Hartland, VT – Investigators still have some unanswered questions after a truck driver was fatally struck Monday morning along a Vermont interstate.
According to the Vermont State Police (VSP), the fatal accident occurred near Hartland in the southbound lanes of Interstate 91 at 5:50 a.m.
Truck driver Gary Starr, 66, of Jay, VT, was traveling on the interstate when his truck became “disabled,” VSP stated.
Starr pulled the truck to the shoulder and engaged his flashers before exiting the vehicle to set up traffic triangles behind his big rig.
At that time, 35-year-old Tristan Blanchard of North Springfield, VT, was driving a 2013 Dodge Dart in the southbound lanes.
As Blanchard’s vehicle made its way around a bend, he struck Starr, who was walking in the southbound travel lane for “unknown reasons,” VSP stated in the accident report.
According to authorities, Blanchard told officials he attempted to avoid striking Starr, but was unable.
Starr was pronounced dead at the scene.
The roadway was closed for more than five hours while emergency crews and police responded and investigated the crash.
Blanchard’s vehicle was totaled as a result of the accident.
However, Blanchard was uninjured.
Video from the scene by local outlet WCAX shows Blanchard’s Dodge Dart with significant damage to the front of the vehicle.
In addition, VSP spokesperson Adam Silverman told WCAX the accident did not appear to happen on the shoulder.
“The presence of a pedestrian in the roadway — on the interstate — is unexpected,” Silverman stated.
“It appears the crash happened entirely within the lane of travel rather than in any way on the shoulder,” he continued.
Starr was driving for Troy, VT-based Couture Trucking, Inc. at the time of his death.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER Web, Couture has 15 trucks in its fleet.
Authorities did not disclose the circumstances which rendered Starr’s truck “disabled.”
The investigation is ongoing, but no charges against Blanchard are expected.
Officials are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information that could potentially aid with the investigation to contact Trooper Michael Marcinkowski at the Royalton Barracks at (802) 234-9933.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously online HERE.