Two Plead Guilty in Fall Crash

By Tim Camerato

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 08-07-2017 11:47 PM

Lebanon — Two men employed at residential schools for at-risk children have struck plea deals on charges stemming from a single-vehicle crash last fall in Lebanon.

Jeffrey Caron, 48, pleaded guilty on Monday in Lebanon Circuit Court to a violation of possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, as well as a reckless driving violation.

Caron, of Plymouth, N.H., was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines and his license will be suspended for 120 days.

Kellen Fitzgibbon-Bizel, 31, of Thornton, N.H., pleaded guilty in June to two counts of possession of drugs in a motor vehicle. He was ordered to serve two years of probation.

Fitzgibbon-Bizel also was sentenced to two 12-month jail sentences, which were suspended on the condition that he take part in Grafton County’s mental health court program.

Both Caron and Fitzgibbon-Bizel continue to be employed by Beckett Family Services, according to David Chabot, the company’s legal aid director.

Beckett operates the Mountain Prospect Academy in Plymouth and the Vermont Permanency Institute, which runs the Vermont School for Girls in Bennington, Vt. Programs at both schools aid at-risk children with cognitive, behavioral and other special needs.

In a phone interview on Monday, Chabot said Caron currently is on leave from his positions as the executive director of Mount Prospect Academy and president of the Vermont Permanency Institute.

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At the time of the incident, Fitzgibbon-Bizel was the facilities director of both institutions.

Chabot declined to say whether Fitzgibbon-Bizel remained on leave, saying his status was an internal personnel matter.

Both men initially faced stiffer charges in the wake of an accident in October along Route 4. Police said Caron had been drinking and driving erratically when his car slammed into a telephone pole near the Enfield town line.

Fitzgibbon-Bizel also was accused of being in possession of several painkillers that weren’t prescribed to him, including Suboxone, Vicodin and Valium, police said, initially citing him into court on several felony charges.

The incident was caught on camera by a woman traveling behind the pair. Footage showed Caron swerving back and forth while tailgating another vehicle as his car approached the Route 4/4A bridge.

Caron then veered onto the right shoulder and appeared to attempt to pass other vehicles before hitting a telephone pole.

Police ultimately dropped a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge against Caron and three charges of possessing controlled drugs against Fitzgibbon-Bizel.

“Basically, the case was broken down and that was based on the evidence of the case,” said Timothy Bush, a Nashua, N.H., attorney representing Caron.

Bush said on Monday that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Caron of driving while intoxicated, and so the case was negotiated to lesser charges.

“Jeff always maintained that he was not under the influence while driving his vehicle and today’s resolution reflects the evidence,” Bush said.

Lebanon prosecutor Ben Leduc was out of the office on Monday. Police Lt. Stephen St. Louis declined to comment after court proceedings.

Fitzgibbon-Bizel was represented by Norwich attorney George Ostler.

The two men were on their way to the Vermont School for Girls at the time of the crash, Chabot said during an interview in January.

At the time, he said, drugs found in the vehicle did not come from any of Beckett’s residential programs, and that New Hampshire state regulations require careful monitoring of medications at such facilities.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

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