Men Involved in Lebanon Crash Captured on Video Work With At-Risk Teens

By Jordan Cuddemi

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 10-28-2016 10:12 AM

Lebanon — Two employees at residential schools for at-risk youths have been placed on leave following their arrests in connection with a single-vehicle car crash on Wednesday on Route 4 in Lebanon.

The driver, Jeffrey Caron, 48, is the executive director of Mount Prospect Academy in Plymouth, N.H., and is the president of Vermont Permanency Initiative, a nonprofit that operates the Vermont School for Girls in Bennington, Vt., where he is also the executive director, according to David Chabot, the legal affairs director of Becket Family of Services, which is the umbrella organization for the academy and the permanency initiative.

The passenger, Kellen Fitzgibbon-Bizel, 31, is the facilities director for Mount Prospect Academy and the Vermont Permanency Initiative, Chabot said.

Both men split their time between the programs; Chabot said he didn’t know whether the men were traveling from the school in Plymouth, N.H., to the school in Bennington, Vt., at the time of the crash.

Mount Prospect Academy and the Vermont Permanency Initiative issued a joint news release on Thursday acknowledging that two employees had been involved in a crash on Wednesday in Lebanon and that the boards of trustees for the two organizations have started an internal review of the incident.

For the time being, Caron and Fitzgibbon-Bizel have been placed on “leaves of absence.”

“Pending completion of the Boards of Trustees’ review and in deference to the on-going investigation by law enforcement authorities, Mount Prospect Academy and Vermont Permanency Inc., respectfully decline further comment on the matter at this time,” the release said.

Asked for further comment, Chabot said he had none, other than to say “we are grateful that no one was seriously injured.”

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Lebanon police say Caron, a resident of Plymouth, N.H., had been drinking and was driving erratically on Wednesday morning when he slammed into a telephone pole on Route 4 near the Enfield town line. Fitzgibbon-Bizel, of Thornton, N.H., allegedly had a variety of painkillers in his possession at the time of the crash.

Another motorist captured the crash in a cellphone video.

Chris Eggleston told the Valley News she was driving west on Route 4 behind Caron and Fitzgibbon-Bizel when she noticed Caron swerve near the elementary school in Enfield.

He continued to swerve and tailgate the vehicle in front of him until he drifted off the right side of the road and slammed into a telephone pole near Bagley’s Corner, not far from the new Route 4/4A bridge, Eggleston said.

Both men were arrested after the crash and were released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail pending their Jan. 9 arraignments in Lebanon District Court. Caron suffered minor injuries in the incident, police said. Caron faces misdemeanor reckless driving and driving under the influence charges, while Fitzgibbon-Bizel faces five felony counts of possessing a controlled drug.

Lebanon Police Chief Richard Mello on Thursday said Fitzgibbon-Bizel allegedly possessed narcotics and opioids, including tramadol, tramadol hydrochloride, Vicodin and Suboxone, as well as Valium.

“I don’t think it was significant quantities,” Mello said of the medications.

Lebanon police investigators are still actively investigating the crash. Questions Mello said he doesn’t yet know the answers to — and may never know — are where the medications came from and to whom they were prescribed.

The chief said with certainty that Fitzgibbon-Bizel “shouldn’t have been in possession of them.”

He said he couldn’t release Caron’s blood alcohol level.

Jake Leon, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said the agency has been in touch with Becket Family of Services and will monitor the organization’s review of the situation. The state health department will also monitor the police investigation, Leon said.

Mount Prospect Academy is a residential treatment and academic facility that treats at-risk youth who have cognitive and developmental behaviors, Becket Family of Services’ legal affairs director Chabot said.

The Vermont Permanency Initiative is a nonprofit that was formed in 2012 to take over the former Bennington School in Bennington, Vt., Chabot said.

It operates the Vermont School for Girls, a residential treatment facility for at-risk girls, some of whom have developmental trauma, emotional and behavioral challenges, and special education needs, he said. The school is licensed by the Vermont Department for Children and Families and is recognized by the Agency of Education.

Both Becket Family of Services and Mount Prospect Academy’s websites were undergoing site updates on Thursday.

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