By Eric Francis
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The criminal case against a 72-year-old Bridgewater resident who struck and killed a Woodstock woman on the Rec Center Bridge last fall was dismissed Monday in Windsor District Court.
Based on an agreement between attorneys, Richmond Maxham will pay a $100 fine and perform as-yet unspecified community service “with a focus on Tropical Storm Irene recovery” in memory of Hasse Halley, who was killed at the age of 70 by Maxham’s pick-up truck walking out of her driveway the morning of Oct. 1.
Halley was an English teacher for more than 50 years, as well as a former dean of students at Woodstock High School. She was also a local activist, and helped coordinate relief for Woodstock area Tropical Storm Irene victims in the wake of the storm.
The police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident that morning on Route 4 did not determine whether or not Maxham “failed to exercise due care” as a driver, according to Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand.
Sand described the nuances of that particular area of Vermont law as “blurry” and “imperfect at best” with little distinction between the original criminal charge and the ticket for “failure to exercise due care when approaching a vulnerable pedestrian” that Maxham was ultimately issued late last week.
“I think it’s fair to say that a reasonable jury could have concluded, ‘It’s just an accident. What did he do wrong?’” Sand said, although he quickly added that it was his view as the prosecutor that Maxham should have seen Halley that morning and taken evasive action.
Still, Sand said, “We did not have a burning desire to see him branded as a criminal.”
See more on this story in the Aug. 2 edition of the Standard.