Ex-Orange County deputy gets 18 months for firing shots in road rage incident, lying

  • William Pine, former deputy sheriff in Orange County. Photo courtesy of Vermont State Police

Published: 12/8/2022 11:25:03 PM
Modified: 12/8/2022 11:24:41 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputy who fired two gunshots into an occupied Jeep in a 2019 road rage incident has been sentenced to at least 18 months in jail.

William Pine, 52, of Brookfield, Vt., who has since been fired from his deputy job, was sentenced Wednesday in Windsor County Superior criminal court by Judge Timothy Tomasi. Pine had been convicted in a jury trial in April on two criminal counts of aggravated assault and a third charge of providing a false statement to police.

Tomasi ordered Pine to serve 18 months to 10 years in jail, with credit for roughly four months of in-patient treatment.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the case, had called for a sentence of four to 10 years in prison. David Sleigh, Pine’s attorney, tried to spare his client from heading to prison Wednesday.

Tomasi said that, while officers in law enforcement deserve praise for good acts, they must be held accountable when “they fall short” of expectations, and “certainly must do so when they violate the very law they are pledged to uphold.”

According to court records, Pine was off duty, driving a Nissan Titan, on Oct. 7, 2019, when he followed a Jeep Wrangler on Stone Road in Williamstown, Vt., for several miles. Nathan Lyonnaise and Kevin Goodale were in the Jeep.

Pine performed a “tactical maneuver” at the intersection of Route 64 to try to block in the Jeep, and yelled “deputy sheriff, don’t F-ing move,” Paul Barkus, one of the assistant attorneys general who prosecuted the case, previously told VtDigger.

At one point, Pine fired gunshots into the Jeep, according to court records. One shot shattered the rear window as the vehicle fled toward Interstate 89.

In an interview with Vermont State Police, Pine acknowledged he had a gun in his truck but did not admit to firing shots into the Jeep.

Lyonnaise and Goodale have since filed a civil lawsuit against Pine and Orange County Sheriff William Bohnyak. The lawsuit accuses the sheriff of negligent hiring, training and retaining Pine as an employee after being notified that he was unfit for the job.

Bohnyak, who lost a reelection bid in November, has denied the allegations.

Before handing down the sentence Wednesday, Tomasi spoke at length about Pine’s more than two decades of military service and his work as a leader and mentor to others.

The judge also said that he understood that Pine’s service led him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder, and that he had been working diligently in treatment for both.

Tomasi spoke of the many letters of support submitted on Pine’s behalf from family, friends and colleagues, including from his former boss, Bohnyak.

However, the judge also spoke to the violent nature of the offense and how “miraculously” no one was killed by what he called criminal behavior “in extreme.” He noted that Pine had followed the Jeep “bumper to bumper” for several miles.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, court officers led Pine out of the courtroom in handcuffs to begin serving his sentence.

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