Three women face charges after bus assault
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Three Rutland-area women who were part of a larger group taking their daily bus ride to a New Hampshire methadone clinic are facing charges in the wake of an assault a month ago that landed one of their fellow riders in the hospital.
Vermont State Police Sgt. Craig Gardner said he was called to the parking lot of a methadone clinic in Lebanon, N.H., on the morning of April 22 after an ambulance met the shuttle operated by Marble Valley Regional Transit District to take victim Jennifer DeCicco to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, also in Lebanon.
DeCicco told police that she was punched multiple times in the head as “The Bus” was traveling through Quechee on its daily run to the clinic.
Gardner said that when he initially interviewed the 10 other women who were on the bus, “they all advised they were actually sleeping at the time of the argument but would have woken up if any fight had occurred.”
Gardner added that Jennifer Bell, 24, of Castleton, was identified by DeCicco as the woman who’d hit her repeatedly, but he said Bell was adamant that she never got out of her seat and said she merely argued with DeCicco from several rows back.
After the bus driver mentioned that the bus was equipped with a video surveillance camera, Gardner said he requested a copy of the tape which he said clearly showed Bell get up and punch DeCicco five times in the head and, the trooper said, it also showed Shari Cabral, 36, of Mendon, grab DeCicco’s notebook during the assault and toss it to Annie Thompson, 33, of Rutland ,who then could be seen opening her bus window and tossing the notebook outside.
Gardner said that when he visited DeCicco in the emergency room at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center she described her level of pain from the attack as a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10.
Bell pleaded innocent Tuesday to a single misdemeanor count of simple assault while Cabral and Thompson each ended up charged with a felony in regard to the notebook. Cabral pleaded innocent to a felony count of larceny from a person and Thompson pleaded innocent to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact.
Cabral and Thompson told police that they had actually gone back after the incident on their own accord and found DeCicco’s notebook, an account which Gardner said was later confirmed by the driver of the bus who was the person to whom they had turned over the notebook.
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