Vt. Mayor Injured in Turn as Crime-fighter

(NECN: Jack Thurston, Barre, Vt.) - Downtown Barre, Vt., is home to a busy main street that's full of history and local color. It may also be home to a comic book-style "bat cave" in city hall.

"People don't expect that from the mayor," said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon, brushing off comparisons to Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent.

Lauzon, the mayor of this city of 10,000, became a self-appointed crime fighter this week. He ran after a Tennessee driver he saw hit a parked car with his truck then speed off. "Dude. You just hit a car," Lauzon remembered telling the man. "Put it in park and shut it off."

Lauzon said the man didn't listen, so he called 911 and planted himself in front of the truck to block the driver until police arrived. "If I had gotten to that window and seen a firearm or a weapon, I would have shrieked like a little girl and run the other way," Lauzon chuckled. "I'm not dumb."

His move did not go as planned. The mayor said the scofflaw took off again; he had to jump away from his truck. In the process, Lauzon was clipped, leaving him with minor bruises and blood blisters. "I got yelled at [by my wife] when I got home," the municipal leader said. "I really got yelled at!"

"I would not advise anyone to get in front of a moving vehicle," said Sgt. Robert Miller of the Barre City Police Department. "At all."

Police would rather see witnesses to any possible crime focus on getting a good, detailed description of the bad guy or his vehicle, while staying safe, unless getting involved is absolutely necessary. "That's why we're here," Miller said.

Officers were able to catch up with the man the mayor said hit the car just a few minutes after the scuffle. They haven't released his name. Lauzon expects the man will be charged with leaving the scene of a crash and maybe assault. As for the way he took a stand? "I can take you around Barre every single day and show you great things and great acts of kindness and people advocating for their community," Lauzon said. "And that's all I was doing."

Lauzon said he'd do it all again, but he admitted he wouldn't recommend anyone else follow his example.

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