MONTPELIER, Vt. - Working in a stout former bank building with windows closed and air conditioners humming, Orleans County sheriff's deputies didn't know what was happening in their parking lot until a neighbour called 911.
A man on a big farm tractor, angry about his recent arrest for resisting arrest and marijuana possession, was rolling across their vehicles — five marked cruisers, one unmarked car and a transport van.
By the time they ran outside, the tractor was down the driveway and out onto the road.
With their vehicles crushed, "We had nothing to pursue him with," said Chief Deputy Philip Brooks.
Thursday afternoon's incident ended when city police in Newport, the county seat of the northern Vermont county, caught up with Roger Pion, 34, a short distance away.
No one was injured. At least two deputies had gone inside a few moments before after washing their vehicles, officials said.
"Nobody was hurt. That's the thing everybody's got to cherish," said Sheriff Kirk Martin.
Vermont State Police said in a statement that Pion would face seven counts of felony unlawful mischief, one count of misdemeanour unlawful mischief, one count aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of gross negligent operation, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.
Pion was being held at the Northern State Correctional Center in Newport on $15,000 bail.
Sheriffs said they did not know if Pion had a lawyer. A phone number for him could not be located.
Martin estimated damage to the vehicles at more than $300,000; state police put it at more than $250,000.
Not only were their roofs and hoods caved in, but "the radios are ruined, the radar detectors, the cages in the cars ... We're going to have to get the jaws of life up here to pry the trunks open and see about the rifles and shotguns," Martin said.
Brooks said the destroyed vehicles constituted more than half the fleet of sheriff's cruisers in the rural county on the Canadian border. Others were out on patrol at the time of the incident.
I bought my Elco from a Marine stationed at Camp Pendelton in San Diego, we have a lot of marines here of course, and a lot of Navy guys and gals as well.
The Chap I bought my '66 from was just back from Afghanistan, had a new baby boy and needed a better family car, he was the most polite, up front, straight shooting fellow I've met and is emblematic of all the young men and women I've met who serve.
To make a long story short, I made an offer on his elco, but he wanted a bit more than was set aside on my budget, grudgingly I departed. The friend who was with me decided while driving back to his house he would loan me the difference so we could get the '66.
We called the young Marine back and said, ok we got the money. his response was great but there is a problem, "There is another person driving down from L.A. I wont sell it out from under him because I gave him my word the car was still available" He apologised for this condition but he would not break his word, I told him not to sweat it and to call me when the coast was clear.
He then up front asked me what he should do if the guy offered him more money for the car, I told him, "if he offers you more money, then you take it son, you need the money more than I need the car"
In the end the LA guy offered less than I was willing to pay, we went back that same day did the transfer and I drove away with my '66. I still get e-mails from him on rare occasions and he frequents my website to see how progress on the car is coming.
I agree.. on the rocking part. Some of the nicest guys and some of the meanest guys I've ever met are Marines. And they are both at the same time. Kind and polite because we have a servants heart. Killers to the core, cause that's how we are trained. I like that bumper sticker.. U.S. Marine. Not as lean, not as mean, still just as green! Oohrah.