Driver in fatal Windsor collision faces gun charge in unrelated incident

By JORDAN CUDDEMI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 02-27-2019 10:32 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Weathersfield woman who struck and killed an elderly pedestrian with her car in Windsor five months ago has pleaded not guilty in an unrelated incident after police say she pointed a handgun at her mother’s boyfriend.

Arden Sanborn, 39, posted $1,000 bail after her Monday arraignment in Windsor Superior Court on a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, criminal threatening and providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

Sanborn’s mother, Carol Ann Reynolds, was at the Ascutney park and ride off Interstate 91 with her boyfriend, Paul Johnson, at 6:15 a.m. on Friday when Sanborn showed up, approached the car and allegedly “put the gun up to the window” while exchanging words with them, according to a Vermont State Police affidavit written by Trooper Zachary Van Valkenburgh.

Sanborn then left the park and ride and returned to her Weathersfield home to put the gun, which belonged to boyfriend William Gibson, back in the dresser drawer where it was kept, the affidavit states. She turned herself in to police that day after learning they were looking for her.

Reynolds told police she overslept that morning and was late to help her daughter with a caregiving job, something that angered Sanborn and led her to seek out Reynolds and Johnson, according to the affidavit. Sanborn found them together at the park and ride, where they had spent the night; Sanborn has a stalking order against Johnson, so he isn’t allowed at the home where Reynolds, Sanborn and Gibson resided, the affidavit states.

Sanborn told police she set out to look for her mother, who she figured was with Johnson, and told an officer that she approached the vehicle with her cellphone in her hand, not a gun. She later told an officer that she is afraid of Johnson and had a gun in her hand and “used it in a threatening manner,” according to the affidavit.

Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill sought to have Sanborn held without bail on Monday, saying in part the evidence of guilt is great in the case. She also has two other assault-related convictions on her record.

Judge Timothy Tomasi imposed bail and conditions for Sanborn’s release, including that she have no contact with her mother and Johnson.

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Sanborn has not been charged in the Sept. 25 collision that resulted in the death of longtime Windsor resident Marguerite Tetreault, but Cahill brought up the incident during Sanborn’s arraignment on Monday.

“We did note that Ms. Sanborn had caused the death of another person in 2018, and as such, it was highly concerning that she was again placing herself in a position to seriously injure or kill another person,” Cahill said via email on Wednesday.

Police said the 85-year-old Tetreault was at fault for the collision because when she crossed Route 5 outside her home to go to her mailbox, she wasn’t in a crosswalk and didn’t yield to Sanborn’s oncoming car, according to police reports.

But the Vermont State Police crash reconstruction report and a Windsor police report on the collision also indicated that Sanborn had “more than adequate time and distance ... to stop or swerve” to avoid Tetreault.

Sanborn told police that she took methadone, which had been prescribed, and smoked marijuana hours before the collision, according to a police report on the September fatality. However, a police drug recognition expert determined she wasn’t impaired when he tested her three hours after the collision, according to the report.

In mid-January, Cahill said he lacked probable cause to charge Sanborn with a crime in Tetreault’s death, but said the case remains open. On Wednesday, he said her new criminal charges won’t impact that case.

“The decision not to charge the motor vehicle case was based upon the evidence in that case being insufficient to support a criminal charge,” Cahill wrote. “Ms. Sanborn’s subsequent conduct does not change that.”

Sanborn, who now is living at the Windsor Motel in Ascutney, is represented by attorney Leah Henderson. Henderson said on Wednesday that she hasn’t yet received Sanborn’s case file and therefore couldn’t comment.

Sanborn has a status conference scheduled for March 18 in the White River Junction courthouse.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.

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