A Crescent Street man is facing several criminal charges, including a felony, after police said he led them on a high-speed chase through the city in June.
Jeffrey Plourde, 32, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of negligent driving while attempting to elude police and one misdemeanor count each of negligent driving and reckless endangerment.
No bail was set in those charges against Plourde, but he is currently being held in the Rutland jail because he is accused of escaping from the custody of the Vermont Department of Corrections in another case.
On June 13, police were told by Cara Broadwell, 31, that Plourde, who is her husband, would be driving from West Rutland on Business Route 4 to Rutland, according to an affidavit written by Sgt. Adam Lucia, of the Rutland City Police Department.
In the affidavit, Lucia said he took a statement from Broadwell at the Rutland Police Station.
She told police a Vermont Department of Corrections parole officer had told her that Plourde was listed as having escaped from corrections. She said she told the officer she was trying to persuade Plourde to turn himself in.
Broadwell told police that she and Plourde would be test driving cars in West Rutland on June 13 and then coming back to Rutland so police could stop them and take Plourde into custody.
However, she said Plourde saw two police cruisers parked in the lot at a snack bar along their route and he “accelerated to try and get away from the police.”
“I begged him to just ‘pull over, you are only making it worse,’” she told Lucia.
As the pursuit continued, she said she told him several times, “If you love me, you will let me out” but said he told her they “couldn’t stop because they would catch us.”
Broadwell said there was one moment where the car they were in almost hit another car because he had run a stop sign at the corner of State Street and Columbian Avenue. She said she was screaming and crying during the incident, but he told her, “Stop yelling, please. I need to concentrate on driving so we don’t crash.”
She said Plourde stopped at the Rutland Country Club to let her out.
According to Broadwell, Plourde had not been taking several medications that she believed was strongly influencing his behavior.
In the affidavit, Lucia described part of the pursuit but said police broke it off early because of the congestion in the neighborhood and the speed Plourde was driving.
Lucia said a Vermont State Police trooper found Plourde on June 15 and took him into custody.
The charges for which Plourde was on escape status included two felony counts of burglary.
Plourde was first arraigned on charges from the alleged June 13 event on June 17, but because of a paperwork error, a charge of causing a fatal crash while eluding police was accidentally filed. Judge Thomas Zonay did not allow the charge to go forward, but Plourde had to be arraigned again Monday with the paperwork corrected.
If convicted of all the charges against him, Plourde could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.