Vermont State Police: Trooper used stun gun to stop suspect from fleeing transport

  • Patrick Southworth (Vermont State Police photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/16/2023 6:50:42 PM
Modified: 2/16/2023 6:49:55 PM

CHELSEA — A 38-year-old Vershire man wanted on warrants in two states is facing new charges after he allegedly persuaded a Vermont state trooper into loosening his handcuffs and begged, “Just let me run to New Hampshire!” before the officer used a stun gun to subdue him, according to police.

Patrick Southworth, of Parker Road in Vershire, has been charged with escaping custody of a police officer, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, after he allegedly attempted to flee near the Jiffy Mart in Bradford, Vt., on Monday, while being transported after he was arrested and charged with burglary earlier in the day, according to police and court documents.

Prior to Monday’s back-to-back alleged incidents and charges, Southworth had multiple warrants out for his arrest for not complying with court dates in regard to 2021 charges in Vermont, including burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and taking game out of season, as well as 2020 charges of possession of controlled substances and criminal trespass in New Hampshire, court records show.

Vermont State Police said they had responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a Corinth home on Monday, and when they arrived at the address they found Southworth inside the residence, where he was apprehended without incident, police said in a news release.

Once he was in custody, police learned that Southworth had multiple warrants out for his arrest.

Southworth was taken to the state police’s Bradford barracks to be processed and then transported to Orange County Superior Court in Chelsea and ordered to be lodged at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury until he could be returned to New Hampshire on a fugitive-from-justice warrant.

But during transportation from the courthouse in Chelsea to prison in St. Johnsbury, the officer transporting Southworth pulled into the Jiffy Mart at the intersection of routes 5 and 25 in Bradford to fill his cruiser with gas, according to a police affidavit.

That’s when what was supposed to be a routine inmate transport went sideways, according to the affidavit.

“While I was pumping gas, Southworth was complaining that he could not feel his left hand and that the handcuff was too tight” and asked the officer if the handcuff could be loosened “so he could feel his hand again,” Trooper Gabriel Schrauf wrote in the affidavit.

Schrauf said that since Southworth had been compliant throughout his arrest and court appearance earlier in the day, he agreed to loosen the handcuff. But when he did so “Southworth pushed off on me and took off running down the road.” Schrauf wrote.

Southworth bolted across Route 5 while the trooper pursued him shouting “You’re under arrest! You’re under arrest!” and chased after Southworth into the parking lot across from the Jiffy Mart, where the trooper ordered Southworth to “get on the ground,” Schrauf related in the affidavit.

Instead, according to the trooper, Southworth spun around and “squared his shoulders” and “put (his) hands up like he was going to hit me with a closed fist,” Schrauf wrote.

Schrauf said he pulled his stun gun and stated, “Pat, I don’t want to tase you, get on the ground,” to which Southworth responded twice, “Just let me run to New Hampshire!” turned away and yelled “f--- you” at the trooper.

At that point, Schrauf said, he fired his stun gun, striking Southworth, and his “extremities immediately locked up and (he) was incapacitated.”

Southworth was escorted back to the cruiser, arrested for the second time that day, and the trip to St. Johnsbury resumed.

Schrauf said he was not wearing his body camera at the time of the incident.

Southworth was arraigned in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the latest charges and was released on personal recognizance with conditions, according to Vermont state court records.

On Wednesday, Southworth appeared for a bail hearing in Grafton County Superior Court in New Hampshire and was released on $5,000 bail with conditions, New Hampshire court records show.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Mann has set a status conference for April 12 on Southworth’s “remaining dockets so parties can assess where things stand with the N.H. charge and these other matters,” according to the judge’s entry order notes dated Feb. 13.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.


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