An officer-involved shooting that occurred early July 8 in Vermont’s second-largest city has left two suspects hospitalized and prompted a use-of-force investigation by state authorities, an automatic review process that is the normal protocol in Vermont under such circumstances.
Shortly after midnight, Rutland City Police were investigating a suspected narcotics transaction in a parking lot off Terrill Street when officers approached a black SUV occupied by two men, according to an account by the Vermont State Police released July 8 as part of their preliminary investigation.
There were few details, but state police investigators said that, during the initial interaction with the men in the car, at least one Rutland City officer fired upon the vehicle, apparently wounding the driver. The driver then put the SUV in motion and fled south down nearby Route 7, which becomes Main Street as it passes through Rutland. After approximately half a mile, the SUV veered into the yard of a home at the intersection with Jackson Avenue and crashed headlong into a large tree.
The driver was taken to the nearby Rutland Regional Medical Center, where he is recovering in the intensive care unit following surgery for gunshot wounds. His passenger, who was not shot but was injured in the crash, was also initially taken to Rutland Regional before being transferred north to the city of Burlington for further treatment at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Both of the Men Who Were in the SUV Are From Rutland
State police investigators have publicly identified the injured men as Michael Goodnough, 45, and Robert Vandriel, 32, both of Rutland. Goodnough was the driver of the vehicle, a black 2000 Infinity QX4 SUV, and Vandriel was the passenger.
At a press conference later in the afternoon, a state police spokesperson said state police detectives have now interviewed both men, describing them as “cooperative with the investigation.”
Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen informed state police investigators that his officers identified themselves to the occupants of the vehicle, and at least one officer was struck by the vehicle prior to the shooting. That officer was treated for minor injuries and subsequently released from the hospital. State police investigators said they had yet to independently verify the chief’s account of events.
Kilcullen reported that five members of the Rutland City Police Department were present at the time of the shooting. One of those officers has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. State police investigators plan to interview all of the officers in the coming days and said their identities will be released as the investigation proceeds.
State police said detectives and members of the Crime Scene Search Team are processing the location where the shooting occurred and the site of the vehicle crash as well as interviewing witnesses and reviewing available video of the incident that has been gathered from police dashboard cameras and nearby surveillance systems.
The Man Who Was Shot Was Charged 2 Years Ago After Police Say He Dragged an Officer With His Car
Goodnough, the driver who was shot, was charged with felony negligent driving back in 2018 after a Rutland City officer said Goodnough dragged him approximately 15 feet as he accelerated away from a drug-related traffic stop in the city.
Goodnough resolved that charge, and several federal charges alleging cocaine distribution, last year in a set of plea deals in both state and federal court. At one point in the proceedings Goodnough had been facing a “habitual offender” petition under Vermont’s so-called “four strikes and you’re out” law, which provides for penalties ranging up to life in prison for defendants who have at least four prior felony convictions on their criminal records.
Multiple Agencies Are Involved in the Investigation, Which Will Be Turned Over to the State Attorney General for Review of Use of Force
Although the shooting and subsequent crash occurred around 12:15 a.m., a large swath of Main Street in Rutland and several side streets are expected to remain closed much of the day Wednesday while the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Crime Scene Search Team process the section of Terrill Street near a supermarket and a liquor store where the shots were fired. They will also process the crash scene at the Jackson Avenue intersection where the pursuit ended a couple of minutes later.
State police said that, according to their normal protocol, “the circumstances that prompted the shooting and the number of officers who fired is under investigation. … Once complete, the investigation into the shooting will be turned over to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office for independent reviews of the use of force.”
The Vermont State Police said their “investigation into this incident is in its earliest stages” and asked that members of the public who might have information about what occurred, including any photos or video that may be relevant, to contact the Vermont State Police at their barracks in Rutland at (802) 773-9101.
News Video Shows an SUV Crashed Into a Tree
A news story by NBC5 reporter Jackie Pascale from the scene on Wednesday morning showed the black SUV where it came to the rest in a front yard off Main Street.
Pascale reported that after the shooting and the “brief chase,” officers “caught up with the vehicle” and “found the driver had several gunshot wounds and the passenger was injured in the crash.”
#BREAKING: we now know this car was involved in a drug investigation by #Rutland City Police that ended with police shooting into the car and chasing the vehicle down the road until it crashed into a tree. The two men who were the driver and passenger are in the hospital @MyNBC5 https://t.co/NWg2oCs4W8
— Jackie Pascale (@JackieMyNBC5) July 8, 2020