Driver in Route 4 Fatality Pleads Not Guilty in Court

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

White River Junction — Witnesses say they watched a 26-year-old Bridgewater man cross the centerline on Route 4 in Woodstock in February and collide head on with a vehicle, killing the driver, a 76-year-old man from Plainfield, according to a police affidavit filed in court last week.

Kenneth R. Hendrick Jr. was arraigned in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a single misdemeanor count of negligent operation with serious injury resulting. He was released pending trial.

Hendrick allegedly fell asleep at the wheel on the morning of Feb. 24, causing his Hyundai Santa Fe to cross Route 4 near the intersection with Echo Ledge Road and strike William Moeller’s Toyota Rav4, according to the affidavit.

Moeller died at the hospital from injuries he sustained in the crash.

Several people who were traveling either behind Hendrick or Moeller at the time of the incident told police they saw Hendrick’s vehicle veer into Moeller’s lane, the affidavit states. There were no skid marks on the roadway.

Shortly after the crash, Hendrick told police he thought he had fallen asleep and said he didn’t get much rest the night before, the affidavit states. However, in a subsequent interview, Hendrick told police he didn’t remember what happened.

As part of their investigation, police pulled Hendrick’s cellphone records and concluded he wasn’t texting at the time of — or leading up to — the 11:45 a.m. crash. There also was no evidence that he had drugs or alcohol in his system, according to the affidavit.

Although the affidavit says Hendrick only had a learner’s permit at the time of the crash, Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said that information is incorrect and Hendrick did have a valid driver’s licence.

In addition to the criminal charge, Hendrick also received a pair of motor vehicle violations stemming from the crash.

If convicted of the misdemeanor, he could face up to two years in prison or up to $3,000 in fines.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.