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Vt. fire chief pleads guilty after throwing flash light at car

In fear of being hit, the chief reportedly threw a flashlight at an oncoming car to get the driver's attention

By FireRescue1 Staff

BENNINGTON, Vt. — A Vt. Fire chief has pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct after he threw a flashlight at a vehicle he thought was going to hit him at an emergency scene earlier this year.

Chief Joseph T. Hayes, 43, of the Bennington Rural Fire Department was charged in July with disorderly conduct and unlawful mischief when he got into an altercation with a motorist while assisting at a downed power line, according to the Bennington Banner.

Chief Hayes was reportedly crossing the road when a fast-moving vehicle was coming towards him. He said he shined his flashlight at the car to get them to slow down or stop, but it didn't. He ended up throwing the flashlight in front of the car and had "choice" words with the driver.

Fred Grant, the driver of the car, claimed that he was traveling between 15 and 20 mph with another vehicle three car lengths in front of him with bad visibility because of rain and lights from another car facing him. Grant alleges he did not see Hayes until an object hit his vehicle and Hayes started yelling at him.

Police said Chief Hayes was not wearing reflective gear at the time.

Chief Hayes' attorney said that throwing the flashlight was just a reaction and he didn't mean to do any harm to Grant's car.

No monetary restitution was part of the case, but Chief Hayes may be asked to do community service.

Chief Hayes' attorney also added that he was surprised Chief Hayes was charged at all, noting that Grant had several traffic violation on record.

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