The lead criminal prosecutor for Orleans County, in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, described a victim seriously hurt in a case of alleged drunk driving as having been discarded "like he was a piece of garbage."
The young man was injured by a buddy who was goofing off with a truck, Vermont State Police revealed.
"What we do have is a troubling series of events over several hours," noted State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett.
Tire tracks in an unpaved parking lot in Greensboro were under the careful watch Thursday of a state trooper — as evidence, investigators said, of one aspect of an attempted murder the evening before.
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Parker Clark, 20, is accused of hitting a 19-year-old friend, coincidentally named Tyler Friend, while driving his truck in circles — often known as doing donuts.
While Barrett described that as unintentional, she and police said what Clark did next was criminal. He was allegedly drunk off beer when he drove Friend not to the hospital, but to a farm in neighboring Craftsbury 25 minutes away. Clark then allegedly dragged Friend, who was unconscious, and left him bleeding in a ravine.
According to police paperwork filed with the court, Clark told troopers he was "too impaired to know what to do."
"The defendant, instead of seeking medical care, drove several miles to a field and discarded the victim like he was a piece of garbage," Barrett told Judge Lisa Warren Thursday afternoon, referring to Clark. "We’re extremely concerned about his release and his mental status at this point."
Vermont State Police investigators said in their affidavit filed with the court that Clark was going to leave the farm, but his truck got stuck in mud and he realized he really needed to run for help.
Friend was air-lifted to the UVM Medical Center in Burlington, according to state police. The medical center has a level one trauma center.
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"This seems like an isolated and teenage incident," argued Lydia Newcomb, Clark’s defense attorney.
Newcomb entered pleas of not guilty to several charges on her client’s behalf, including an accusation of attempted second-degree murder.
Newcomb told Judge Warren her client shared a very different version of events.
He insisted he wanted to go somewhere familiar to get his buddy emergency aid — where he was certain he would have cell phone service, unlike in the parking lot where he was doing those donuts.
Newcomb described her client as a good kid who recently turned 20 and who has not been in trouble before. She acknowledged Clark wasn’t thinking clearly.
"Age is not just a number," Newcomb said in remarks to Judge Warren. "And intoxication levels for someone whose body has not handled that can certainly have different effects. And certainly, the mental capacity of a youth is different than that of an adult."
Warren ordered the alleged dangerous driver to remain jailed without bail for now. However, his attorney indicated she would be asking in a future court hearing for Clark’s release on curfew and other strict conditions. She suggested Clark’s mother, who the attorney said was deeply upset by the allegations, would be available to maintain custody of her son if he is released from jail.
Barrett told NECN & NBC10 Boston the case is still under investigation, so she would have more information to share with the court at that upcoming weight of the evidence hearing, at which Clark’s possible release from jail would be discussed further.
Tyler Friend, meanwhile, was still listed in critical condition at the hospital Thursday afternoon, according to Barrett.
In a news release late Thursday, Vermont State Police said as they continued their investigation, they would like to hear from anyone with information about what happened in the parking lot in Greensboro or during the drive to the farm in Craftsbury.
Anyone with info can call the barracks in Derby at 802-334-8881 or leave an online tip, even anonymously, at this website. http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.