BENNINGTON >> A North Bennington man is accuse of taking his employer's van without permission and crashing it, then lying to police about the incident.
Michael S. Sandquist, 32, of North Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of aggravated vehicle operation without the owner's consent, an a misdemeanor count of false information to police. He was released under the conditions he not contact Alan and Claudia Bookspan, who own the van, as well as Water Works where Sandquist worked.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Paul F. Sokolowski Jr., on June 15, he was dispatched to Water Works where the owners said they found their van damaged and that a rear office door was unlocked. The Bookspans told police that Sandquist told them that the van was parked inside the garage on Friday and hadn't been used.
Sokolowski searched the van and found a bank receipt from a Bennington ATM dated for June 12. He traced the debit card numbers on the receipt to the Bank of Bennington and found that the numbers matched Sandquist's account number.
The owners told Sokolowski that he had permission to use the van for work purposes only.
Sokolowski spoke to Sandquist and was given several variations of what happened to the van. Sandquist told police that he took the van home on June 12 because his personal vehicle had mechanical issues. He crashed into a guardrail on Route 7A in Shaftsbury, after dropping his phone. He later parked the van behind the business.
Sokolowski wrote that Sandquist did not inform the owners of the crash at the fear of losing his job.
Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.