Drivers feel snowed after plow truck hit-and-run totals vehicles

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 03-03-2023 6:01 PM

QUECHEE — A snowplow driver in Quechee struck multiple cars earlier this week before fleeing the scene, and now the drivers of the damaged vehicles are asking the public’s help in identifying the rogue operator.

“Honestly, it never occurred to me (the snowplow truck operator) wouldn’t stop and pull over once he got his vehicle under control, but just kept on going down the hill,” said Chelsea Farnsworth, a driver of one of the three vehicles struck by the plow truck. All three cars were waiting at the stop sign at the top of Quechee Main Street to turn onto Route 4 earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Hartford police said they believe they have identified the private plow truck and its operator, but no citation has been issued yet as the matter is still under investigation.

The Wednesday morning hit-and-run occurred around 8 a.m., when a black, dual rear-wheel truck with a V-shaped silver plow traveling westbound on Route 4 turned right onto Quechee Main Street and struck the vehicle first in line at the stop sign near Fat Hat Clothing Co. and then the second vehicle, which was pushed into the third vehicle in line (Farnsworth’s), according to passengers whose vehicles were involved the incident.

“He made a right-hand turn, hit the side of the car in front of me and pushed it into the guard rail enough so he was then facing me and hit me head-on and spun me to the left and pushed my driver’s side door into the car behind me,” said Alison Gaffney, a Quechee resident who was on her way to work in Lebanon at the time and was the second driver hit. The impact was so hard that it inflated the driver’s-side airbag.

“He didn’t stop or slow down. He just kept going at a high speed. Then he was gone,” Gaffney said.

One of the drivers of a damaged vehicle called 911, and police and an ambulance responded. The occupants of the vehicles emerged shaken but unscathed. At least two of the three vehicles were considered totaled, according to their owners.

The out-of-control plow truck and its operator may not be at large for long. Tom Howell, a patrol lieutenant with Hartford police, said on Friday that investigators are “fairly certain they know the identity of the operator” and are “just trying to obtain further evidence” before issuing a citation.

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Gaffney posted about the incident on social media to “get out the word” about the incident and asking nearby residents “that have cameras outside their house to look if your plow truck driver has a damaged plow or came to your house later than expected.” She suspects that others in the community may know who the driver is.

“I’m hoping someone will step forward,” said Gaffney, who has taken a few days off from work in the aftermath. She said she had been doing her own sleuthing to try to determine the identity the driver of the plow truck, which had a sander attached. She’s been checking with sand and gravel suppliers to see if anybody can shed light on the identity of the perpetrator.

Her Mazda CX-9 SUV sustained severe damage to the front of the vehicle and driver’s side door and has been determined to be a total loss, Gaffney said.

Farnsworth, who volunteers as an EMT on the Cornish Rescue Squad, said her insurance company said her Nissan Rogue also is likely “totaled.”

“Luckily nobody was more seriously injured. It was a really big hit,” Farnsworth said. “This could have been a much worse accident.”

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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