Vermonter changes plea in girlfriend’s truck death

Rutland County

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A Pittsford, Vermont, man accused of hitting his girlfriend with his pickup truck has changed his plea in her death.

Anthony J. Reynolds, 50, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to leaving the scene of an accident with death resulting and driving with a suspended license, according to his lawyer, Chris Montgomery. He also pleaded no contest to negligent operation, a misdemeanor, he said.

Police said Reynolds and Melanie Rooney, 31, had gotten into an argument and he hit her with his truck as he drove off from her Proctor home in May 2019. He told police that he wasn’t aware he had hit her until he returned to the home for his cellphone.

“It is clear that Mr. Reynolds did not know Ms. Rooney was behind his vehicle when he left her residence,” Montgomery said by email.

When Reynolds checked her pulse and realized she wasn’t breathing he said “he panicked and left the area,” the police affidavit said, according to the Rutland Herald.

Reynolds originally pleaded not guilty. The state is dismissing the manslaughter and aggravated domestic assault charges, and amended the gross negligent operation to negligent operation, Montgomery said.

“We believe the plea agreement properly reflects the events of that evening,” he said by email.

A document filed with the court and signed by Reynolds, said he had been negligent because he was “tired from a long day” and had been drinking and arguing with Rooney, the newspaper reported.

As part of the plea deal, the state has restricted itself to seeking a sentence of no more than six to 10 years to serve.

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