Running a Shop Law

Alleged Faulty Inspection Leads to Manslaughter Charge

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Aug. 19, 2015—A mechanical technician in Vermont has been arrested on charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment for allegedly approving a state inspection for a defective car that later crashed and killed a woman in July of 2014, according to a report by Mike Donoghue of the Burlington Free Press.

Steven Jalbert, an employee at A.J.’s Sunoco in Barre, Vt., conducted a faulty inspection less than two months before the crash, alleged Glen Button, director of enforcement for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, according to the report. The inspection was completed with visibly unsafe conditions showing.

The multiple problems with the car found after the crash were “more than likely” also present during the inspection, according to DMV Lt. Tim Charland’s statement in a court affidavit.

The 17-page affidavit by Charland outlines the poor condition of the car, pointing out extensive rust, especially on the rocker panels.

Jalbert was arrested at the service station shortly before his arraignment on Tuesday. Defense lawyer Hal Stevens questioned how the state will be able to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that there was a link to the state inspection and the crash two months later, according to Donoghue’s report.

Jalbert pleaded not guilty to the charges during his hearing on Tuesday afternoon. Judge Kevin Griffin agreed to release Jalbert on conditions.

If convicted, Jalbert faces up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and up to one year on the reckless endangerment count, according to the Burlington Free Press report.

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