The Mountain Times

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Snowmobile driver killed in collision with 18-wheeler; passenger injured


BENSON - On Sunday, Jan. 26, at approx. 3:30 p.m. Vt. Route 22a in Benson was closed due to a serious motor vehicle crash and investigation.
The crash occurred in the area of Trinity Farm in Benson, Vt on Route 22a.
Rutland Dispatch provided updates to VSP detailing how the operator(s)/passenger(s) of the snowmobile were seriously injured and the DHART helicopter had already been requested.
According to police, the snowmobile with two occupants (Brian Norton, age 10 from Benson, Vt. and Mark Lussier, age 48 from Benson, Vt.) was traveling across the lawn of the property at 5442 VT Route 22A, traveling eastbound. At the same time, a tractor trailer commercial vehicle (18-wheeler) driven by Christopher Fionda, age 58 from Swanton, Vt.  was traveling south on VT Route 22A en route to York, PA.
The snowmobile failed to remain on the property and after driving over a snow embankment, launched into the air and collided with the side of the tractor trailer as it passed by the property.  The snowmobile came back to rest on the property at 5442, VT Route 22A.
Norton/Lussier were both listed as operator/passenger because they were both in control of the snowmobile. The 10-year-old was seated in front of the 48-year-old, as he was instructing him how to drive and assisting with the operation of the snowmobile.
The 10-year-old Brian Norton was transported to RRMC and later airlifted to DHMC for internal and lower extremity injuries. Norton was wearing a helmet. Lussier was pronounced deceased at the scene by members of the Fair Haven Rescue Squad. Lussier was not wearing a helmet. Fionda, the operator of the 18-wheeler, was uninjured.
The crash currently remains under investigation, reported Lieutenant Charles J. Cacciatore Station Commander at the Rutland Barracks for the Vermont State Police.
Alcohol/drugs do not appear to be a factor in this crash.
Vermont State Police were assisted at the scene, by members of the Benson Fire Department, Benson First Response, Fair Haven Rescue, Fair Haven Fire Department, West Haven Fire Department, Orwell Fire Department, Orwell First Response, Regional Ambulance Service, Fair Haven Police Department, Castleton Police Department and Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police at Rutland, 802-773-9101. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.