Man denies reckless driving in crash into house
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | April 18,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
The man police say was driving this car when it crashed into a home on Cedar Avenue has denied the charges.
A Pittsford man who allegedly crashed his car into a Rutland Town home while driving recklessly in January denied a pair of criminal charges this week related to the crash.
Stephen C. Hopkins, 22, pleaded innocent in Rutland criminal court to misdemeanor charges of reckless or grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash.
Both charges stem from a crash on the night of Jan. 21 when a car crashed into a home at 230 Cedar Ave., narrowly missing homeowner Lenny Montuori.
The Chevrolet Cavalier that struck the building left a gaping hole in the side of the house.
The driver fled before police arrived.
But Vermont State Police said Hopkins was charged after information pointed to him including the vehicle’s registration, interviews from witnesses and his roommates and statements made by his girlfriend who police say Hopkins left at the crash scene with instructions to take the blame for the crash.
Police said Hopkins apologized repeatedly to Montuori, better known locally as hot dog and sausage vendor “Big Lenny,” and his girlfriend Susan Shaw who were both in the home when the crash occurred at 6:30 p.m.
Hopkins allegedly fled on foot in single digit temperatures.
After initially telling police she didn’t know the driver, the passenger in the car, 21-year-old Kelsey Mau, later told police that Hopkins was driving east on Cedar Lane when he lost control of the vehicle because he was driving too fast to navigate a curve in the road, according to court documents.
Mau also told police that Hopkins fled because he had no insurance.
Days after the crash, Trooper Seth Richardson said he received a call from Montuori who complained that Hopkins had posted a picture of his damaged car on Facebook and was bragging about the crash.
In his own query of Hopkins’ Facebook page, the trooper said he found a picture of the damaged car posted on Jan. 29 along with a post proclaiming to be from Hopkins posted Jan. 30 that read “I parked in this guys living room very abruptly...”
No one was injured in the crash but Richardson said the damage to the home was estimated to be in excess of $70,000.