Police urge safety after crashes

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Vermont State Police say a Colchester man crashed his car on Interstate 89 in Williston early last Tuesday morning after hydroplaning off the side of the road.

Around 1:15 a.m. on August 8, troopers found 33-year-old Justin Haight’s car had hydroplaned off I-89, colliding with a construction message sign trailer, according to a press release.

The impact caused the trailer to flip over, police said, and Haight’s 2006 Subaru to spin around. He sustained serious but non-life threatening internal injuries.

Haight was transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center after Williston Fire and Rescue extricated him from the car, police said. His car had substantial driver’s side damage, according to the release.

Police say the cause of the crash was “operating at a speed too fast for roadway conditions,” and noted the car’s airbag curtain deployment system and Haight’s use of a seatbelt prevented more serious injuries.

The crash came just hours before law enforcement officials (including Colchester police Chief Jennifer Morrison, who is also president of the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police) held a press conference to address the unusually high occurrence of fatal crashes in Vermont during the previous 48 hours.

In that time period, five motor vehicle crashes across the state resulted in eight fatalities. Police say seven of the eight people killed were not wearing seatbelts.

“Statistically, a person wearing a seatbelt is 50 percent to 70 percent more likely to survive a crash than an unbelted person,” the law enforcement group’s subsequent joint statement reads.

“It’s simple:  Buckling up may save your and your loved one’s life. It is the single most important thing you can do when getting into a car.”