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Eli Brookens, 16, Janie Cozzi, 15, Liam Hale, 16, Mary Harris, 16, and Cyrus Zschau, 16, killed in wrong-way multi-vehicle crash on I-89 in Williston, Vermont
State police say they received a report late Saturday evening of a pick-up truck driving the wrong way on Interstate 89 going southbound in Bolton.
Police say the car later crashed into another vehicle on I-89 in Williston. One of the vehicles burst into flames near the median.
Police said Bourgoin headed south in the proper lanes toward Richmond, Vermont when Richmond police attempted to stop him. He then made a U-turn and headed north in the southbound lanes of the highway.
Harwood Union Middle and High School co-Principal Amy Rex says four of the five attended Harwood Union High School in Duxbury. She says the fifth victim is from the community, but attends a different school.
The five teenagers were first identified by Rex and later by state police as Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; and Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown. Rex said that all the teenagers were juniors in high school, and that four of the five attended Harwood Union High School.
"This is an unprecedented tragedy; we have suffered a tremendous loss," Rex said. "These students were vibrant members of our school community, actively involved and all with a promise for a bright future."
"When he gets in his moods, he does not think clearly, and has no regard for those around him, even loved ones," his ex-girlfriend told police. "When Steven is in these moods, it is usually because he ran out of marijuana which he used to stabilize his mood swings. It was always very evident when he was out (of marijuana), as he would be more angry and violent during those times."
Vermont State Police have arrested the 36-year-old man accused of killing five teenagers and injuring five others while driving the wrong way on Interstate 89.
Police served an arrest warrant on Steven D. Bourgoin, of Williston, Tuesday charging him with reckless or gross negligent vehicle operation and operating a vehicle without owner consent after he allegedly slammed into a total of eight cars late Saturday night.
Bourgoin, who would face 20 years to life in prison on each murder count if convicted, is to be arraigned Friday in a conference room of the hospital, where his condition has been upgraded from critical to good.
The judge ordered a competency hearing and agreed with the prosecutor’s request that Bourgoin, of Williston, be held without bail. If convicted, Bourgoin, who’s 36 years old, would face 20 years to life in prison on each murder count.
Toxicology testing on blood drawn from Steven Bourgoin indicates he had THC in his system just after he was involved in the wrong-way crash that killed five high school students on I-89 in Williston, Vermont October 8.
In a story Jan. 6 about a wrong-way crash that killed five teens, The Associated Press erroneously attributed information about what is in a toxicology report. That information previously was reported by Vermont News First; it did not come from police.