Man Charged in Two-Town Police Chase
White River Junction — A Bradford, Vt., man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges related to an alleged high-speed chase in Springfield, Vt., and Weathersfield last week.
Police said Timothy J. Keith Jr., 27, tried to elude officers on Route 5 Friday night, traveling faster than 100 mph and passing traffic in 40 and 50 mph zones.
According to a police affidavit, the 1996 Ford Mustang spun out on an “S” curve in Ascutney and Keith fled on foot into the snowy woods before officers apprehended him Friday.
Springfield police had attempted to pull over the car because they believed it had been in an accident the night before, according to affidavits. Springfield police said the car slid into a tree on Greeley Road and was abandoned on Thursday night. Officers had it towed by Fay’s Wrecking Service.
On Friday, workers at Fay’s told officers that a couple had come to get the car. Police spotted it later that day and tried to pull it over, but it accelerated away.
Keith, who appeared in court wearing a camoflage-pattern long-sleeve shirt and had shackles on his wrists and ankles, was charged with gross negligent operation and attempting to elude a police officer, both felonies. Together they carry a maximum sentence of nine years in prison.
He was also charged with a misdemeanor for excessive speeding, punishable by up to six months.
Keith is also facing charges in New Hampshire, where authorities say he failed to report for a prison sentence that was to be served on weekends.
According to court documents, Keith had pleaded guilty to bail jumping — failing to appear for a court appearance after posting bail in order to avoid prosecution — in Lebanon District Court in November. He was sentenced to the Grafton County House of Corrections for 180 days with 135 days suspended and eight days of pre-trial credit, with the remainder of his sentence to be served on weekends.
However, according to an arrest warrant, Keith failed to appear for the second weekend of his sentence and his whereabouts were unknown. He was charged with “failure to report deemed escape,” a felony punishable by up to seven years.
It was unclear Monday what charges led to the bail jumping conviction.
Keith waived extradition Monday, meaning he will be returned to New Hampshire. His public defender, Jordana Levine, told the judge she expects that to happen in about a week.
Keith’s $25,000 bail was suspended Monday as he waits in Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., to be transported to New Hampshire.
If he still faces charges in Vermont once the New Hampshire case is settled, he will be returned to Vermont, “but it’s also possible that while he’s in New Hampshire he could resolve his cases (in Vermont),” Levine said.
She declined further comment.
Shortly after Keith’s arraignment Monday, a woman who police said may have been in a relationship with Keith pleaded not guilty to charges that she lied to police about the crash on the night before the high-speed chase.
Riley Charbono, 24, also of Bradford, Vt., was released on conditions that she return for future court dates.
She faces a charge of providing false information to a police officer, punishable by up to one year in prison.
According to a police affidavit, Charbono provided a false identity to officers when they questioned her about the crash on Friday and said she did not know Keith.
However, officers said the Mustang involved in the police chase was registered to one of Charbono’s relatives.
They also said that police logs showed past instances in which Charbono identified Keith as her boyfriend, and that Keith has a tattoo that says “Riley” on his neck.
Charbono declined to comment after her arraignment.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3220.