June 26, 2019

Police investigating crash that killed local teen

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

One Williston teenager was killed and another injured after the car they were driving on River Cove Road veered into a tree last Thursday afternoon.

Solomon Jenkins, a 16-year-old passenger in the vehicle, was transported to the UVM Medical Center by Williston Rescue, where he died from his injuries. The 15-year-old driver, McKenna Raymond of Williston, was transported to the medical center by Essex Rescue. She was treated and released later in the day.

Jenkins had been living with his mother in Williston, police said, but grew up in Montpelier, according to his obituary.

Police seized the vehicle, a Toyota Rav 4, and said it is registered to Nicole Jenkins of Williston. A search warrant on the vehicle will be executed this week, Williston Police Chief Patrick Foley said on Monday.

River Cove Road is a steep and winding route along the Winooski River on the northern edge of town. It winds past the Onion River Farm before connecting to National Guard Avenue in South Burlington.

The road was closed Thursday afternoon as police and emergency personnel responded to the crash. Officer Eric Shepard reported that responders first noticed Raymond standing on the side of the road and the car off the north side of the road. Solomon Jenkins was found trapped in the front seat. The Vermont Air National Guard Fire Department worked with Williston Fire to extricate him from the vehicle.

Police Chief Foley expects the data recorder in the car to reveal how fast it was traveling and potentially whether mobile devices were in use at the time of the crash. Citing his experience, Foley said, “Based on 42 years of investigating car accidents and accident reconstruction, and based on evidence at the scene…my gut feeling is that speed was a contributing factor.”

Foley has spoken with the office of the Chittenden County State’s Attorney about the potential for bringing charges in the case. “It is a tragedy, and we want to make sure we’re satisfied with the investigation before we decide what direction we want to go,” Foley said.

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