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Lawyers Hope to Resolve Rabbi’s Vt. Case Over Traffic Stop

  • File - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file from dashboard video released by the Vermont State Police, troopers detain passenger Rabbi Eli Fink, rear, and driver Rabbi Berl Fink, off camera at right, during a traffic stop in Thetford, Vt. The attorney for the rabbi who drove for 4.5 miles after a Vermont state trooper tried to pull him over for speeding on a remote interstate highway says he's hopeful the case can be resolved without Fink having to appear in court. (Vermont State Police via AP, File)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file frame from dashboard video released by the Vermont State Police, Trooper Justin Thompson, left, detains driver Rabbi Berl Fink, while a second officer, right, detains passenger Rabbi Eli Fink, both of of Brooklyn, N.Y., during a traffic stop in Thetford, Vt. The attorney for the rabbi who drove for 4.5 miles after a Vermont state trooper tried to pull him over for speeding on a remote interstate highway says he's hopeful the case can be resolved without Fink having to appear in court. (Vermont State Police via AP, File)



Associated Press
Friday, October 13, 2017

Montpelier — The attorney for a New York rabbi who kept driving when a Vermont state trooper tried to pull him over for speeding said on Thursday he was hopeful the case could be resolved without the case going to court.

Rabbi Berl Fink’s family has claimed they were traumatized by the stop, but state police leaders have stood by the trooper.

“It’s being treated like any other minor case, first offense, and we are looking for a way to resolve it without court involvement,” defense attorney Robert Appel said, noting Fink didn’t have a criminal record.

Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter said the case fits the criteria for a court diversion program in which a defendant meets with a community board and works out a personalized resolution to the case. The result of that process is not public.

Police say Fink was driving 83 mph in a 65 mph zone on a remote stretch of Interstate 91 on Aug. 8 in Thetford.

He kept driving for 4.5 miles, and when he finally stopped, Fink told the trooper he was looking for a safe place to pull over.

Dashboard video of the stop showed that after Fink pulled over he was ordered out of the car at gunpoint.

Berl’s wife, Sarah Fink, told the New York Post the ordeal was “traumatizing.” Their son Yehuda told The Associated Press earlier this month he and his family felt they were targets of a terrorist attack.

A state police investigation found that Trooper Justin Thompson acted properly when he conducted a high-risk traffic stop because he was alone on a remote stretch of highway and he didn’t know who was in the car.