Murder Charges to Be Brought in Vermont Crash That Killed 5 Teens | NECN


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Murder Charges to Be Brought in Vermont Crash That Killed 5 Teens



    While Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan builds his case, a fund has emerged to raise money for the victims' families (Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016)

    Prosecutors are preparing to bring murder charges against a driver accused of causing the crash that left five teenagers dead in Vermont.

    Meanwhile, a new fund is collecting donations for the families of the victims.

    Late Thursday afternoon, Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan announced the alleged wrong-way driver, Steven Bourgoin, 36, of Williston, would face five counts of second-degree murder for his role in the collision.

    High school juniors Eli Brookens of Waterbury, Liam Hale and Janie Cozzi of Fayston, and Mary Harris and Cyrus Zschau of Moretown died in the crash Saturday night. Police said the childhood friends were traveling south together on I-89 when Bourgoin was barreling north in the southbound lane toward them.

    The collision caused the teens' car to catch fire. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

    Bourgoin was injured, but his condition was upgraded to "good" Thursday morning, according to the University of Vermont Medical Center.

    It was not immediately known if Bourgoin has secured an attorney, but he will have his chance to answer to the accusations at the arraignment, which Donovan said was expected for Friday morning inside the hospital.

    Donovan said earlier this week that he was convinced Bourgoin's alleged wrong-way drive was an intentional act. More details related to the accusations are expected Friday.

    Meanwhile, thousands of dollars have been raised for the victims' families through a new memorial fund.

    "The response has been phenomenal," said Dana, the administrator of the Mad River Valley Community Fund.

    Dana asked to not show her face or use her last name in news reports, out of concern for the privacy of recipients she is often with, which may include victims of disasters, crimes, and financial hardships.

    Dana said financial support for the community fund's new "Five Families Fund" has flowed into Vermont from as far away as California, Florida, and Utah.

    The money will be shared with the Brookens, Hale, Cozzi, Harris, and Zschau families to cover immediate needs, such as funeral expenses, travel costs for out-of-state relatives, and accommodations for relatives.

    "It's just been a nationwide response," Dana said of the donations to the Five Families Fund.

    The Mad River Valley Community Fund is a more than 25-year-old charity that is registered in the state of Vermont. Dana said one reason the non-profit wanted to collect donations was to provide people a secure way to give, without fear of scams.

    "You can't replace a life," Dana said. "You can't. But we're hoping to make things easier for the families."

    For more information on the effort, visit this website.

    If there's leftover money, the Community Fund expects to establish scholarships at Harwood Union High School in the students' names, Dana noted.

    NBC 5 News contributed to this report.

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