BARRE — A Granite City woman has been told by a judge she can’t drive after being charged with swerving into oncoming traffic several times Friday.
Maryellen S. Harris, 54, pleaded not guilty Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to negligent operation, a misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces a maximum of a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
According to the Vermont State Police affidavit, police received a call about a vehicle going into oncoming traffic on Route 2 in East Montpelier. The caller gave the license plate of the vehicle, which came back as a 2011 white Kia Sorento registered to Harris.
The caller told police she and her husband were driving east toward Plainfield with the Kia in front of them. The caller said Harris swerved into oncoming traffic about 10 times, causing westbound traffic to swerve to avoid a head-on collision.
Police called Harris’ home and spoke to her husband, who told them she had been out delivering newspapers during the time of the incident, according to the affidavit. The husband told police Harris must have been tired, suggesting her fatigue caused the car to swerve.
Police say there have been several reports about a white Kia swerving into traffic over the past few months. On Jan. 30, a report was made about erratic driving by Harris on Maple Hill in Plainfield. On April 10, a report came in about Harris’ vehicle speeding on Route 2. May 21, a report was filed about a white Kia being operated erratically on Route 2 near Twinfield Union School. Thursday, a white Kia was seen being operated erratically on Route 2 in East Montpelier. And Friday, a call was made about a cream-colored Kia running people off the road on Route 2 in both Marshfield and Plainfield.
Harris is also facing an unlawful trespass charge in an unrelated matter. She pleaded not guilty May 21.
According to the state police affidavit in that case, Harris went onto someone’s property in Plainfield on April 3, even though she had been served with a no-trespass order for that property in February.
In both cases, a competency evaluation has been ordered.
In court Monday, Judge Thomas Zonay ordered that Harris not drive and had her husband sign her conditions of release. The judge said that if Harris violates her conditions, her husband is to inform law enforcement immediately or possibly face a criminal charge himself.
Harris has two driving under the influence convictions, one in 2009 and the other in 2005.
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