By Eric Francis, Standard Correspondent
ASCUTNEY — A North Pomfret woman was hospitalized for hypothermia early Friday morning after police found her trying to hide from them in an icy creek at the conclusion of a pursuit she’d led them on down Route 131 in Weathersfield.
Elizabeth Stuart, 20, was taken to Springfield Hospital’s emergency room where later on Friday morning she was issued citations to appear in court on May 13 to answer charges of attempting to elude law enforcement, negligent operation of a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and providing false information to police.
Vermont State Police Trooper Ryan Wood said the incident began at 1 a.m. at the Downer’s Four Corners intersection where Routes 106 and Route 131 meet in Weathersfield.
Wood said that when troopers attempted to pull Stuart over because of defective equipment and “marked lane violations” they’d observed, Stuart took off heading east past the West Weathersfield Fire Station on Route 131. “Stuart lost control of her vehicle while attempting to negotiate a sharp corner on Route 131 and crashed into a section of guardrails before coming to a stop in the middle of the road,” Wood noted in a press release.
Although police ordered Stuart to step out of her car, Wood said she began driving eastward again on Route 131 toward Ascutney and the intersection with Interstate 91 when she once again crashed, this time into a telephone pole, near the intersection with Goulden Ridge Road.
“Stuart fled on foot immediately after the crash while (her) passenger complied with the state police,” Wood recalled.
The troopers requested help from surrounding agencies to mount a search for Stuart in the pre-dawn darkness and officers from Springfield, Windsor and both Claremont and the New Hampshire State Police converged on the area to assist. Vermont State Police Trooper Kevin Hughes and his canine “Bohdan” also arrived and began searching a wooded area behind a nearby home.
“After tracking in deep snow and searching an area around Mill Brook, Stuart was found attempting to hide from police by sitting in the water of Mill Brook behind a pile of snow and ice,” Wood wrote. Ascutney Fire and Rescue treated Stuart at the scene for hypothermia before she was transported to the hospital.
In addition to the pending criminal charges, Stuart was also issued written warnings for the initial defective equipment complaint and for failing to stay in marked lanes along with a ticket for driving despite having a suspended license.