Man accused of crushing cop cars released

Man accused of crushing cop cars released
In this Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 photo, a crushed cruiser sits at the Orleans County Sheriff's Department in Newport, Vt. (AP Photo/The Caledonian-Record, Taylor Reed)
NEWPORT CITY, Vt. (AP) - A man charged with driving a tractor over seven police vehicles and crushing them has been released from a Vermont correctional facility.

The Newport Daily Express newspaper reports Roger Pion left the Northern State Correctional Facility on Thursday with a smile on his face.

Pion is accused of destroying vehicles parked outside the Orleans County Sheriff's Department in Derby with his dad's farm tractor on Aug. 2.

Sheriff's deputies didn't know what was happening in their parking lot until a neighbor called 911.

Officials said Pion, angry about his recent arrest for resisting arrest and marijuana possession, was rolling across their vehicles - five marked cruisers, one unmarked car and a transport van.

By the time they ran outside, the tractor was down the driveway and out onto the road.

With their vehicles crushed, "We had nothing to pursue him with," said Chief Deputy Philip Brooks.

The incident ended when city police caught up with Pion a short distance away.

No one was injured. At least two deputies had gone inside a few moments before after washing their vehicles, officials said.

"Nobody was hurt. That's the thing everybody's got to cherish," Sheriff Kirk Martin said the day of the incident.

Martin estimated damage to the vehicles at more than $300,000; state police put it at more than $250,000.

Not only were their roofs and hoods caved in, but "the radios are ruined, the radar detectors, the cages in the cars ... We're going to have to get the jaws of life up here to pry the trunks open and see about the rifles and shotguns," Martin said.

The destroyed vehicles constituted more than half the fleet of sheriff's cruisers in the rural county on the Canadian border. Others were out on patrol at the time of the incident.

Pion received support from people worldwide after his arrest. Some contributed money to help cover his $50,000 bail. But after making bail he remained in prison over an earlier case.

He thanked his supporters Thursday. He says he has no regrets.

The sheriff's department is rebuilding its fleet.