Police take off after tractor on foot

The deputies with the Orleans County Sheriff's Department were rousted from a quiet afternoon last week in the Newport, Vt., office by a car alarm — from their own parking lot.

Two deputies bolted for the door. In the back lot, they found five cruisers, one transport van and another department vehicle crushed on the concrete like soon-to-be-recycled cans. They also saw a large tractor rumbling down the road and out of sight.

Without cars, the deputies couldn't give motorized chase, so they set out on foot. The tractor, although certainly not fast, quickly outdistanced them.

Then a motorist pulled up beside the jogging men. "What are you guys doing?" he asked. One of the deputies explained. "Jump in," the man said.

With the help of the driver and the Newport Police Department, the deputies stopped the tractor and arrested its driver, Roger Pion, at gunpoint.

Sheriff Kirk Martin got the call about the incident as he was headed toward Fenway Park in Boston to watch the Red Sox play the Minnesota Twins. "You've got to come home," his captain said, according to Martin. "I've never seen anything like it. The cars — they're gone. They're gone."

The air conditioner had been humming, deputies said, so they didn't hear the demolition derby out back.

Martin missed the game. (The Sox lost.)

Pion, a local farmer, was obviously disgruntled, Martin said. Less clear is why he took out his frustration on the Sheriff's Department. He had been arrested in July on charges of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana, Martin said, but the arrest was made by local police.

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