Warrant issued for North Adams driver accused of striking Bennington, Vt., firefighter

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WOODFORD, Vt. — An arrest warrant has been issued for a Massachusetts man accused of driving while intoxicated and hitting a Bennington firefighter who was directing traffic Wednesday morning. The firefighter was in the area to assist in an earlier crash.

Mark Ring, 57, of North Adams, is charged with driving under the influence (first offense) and grossly negligent vehicle operation resulting in serious injury. The Vermont Superior Court in Bennington County issued a warrant for Ring's arrest when he didn't appear in court Thursday to answer to the charges, court records show.

Authorities say Ring was traveling east along Route 9 in Woodford around 4 a.m. Wednesday, and drove past a firefighter who was signaling for him to stop at a roadway blockage. Ring's truck apparently kept going and hit Michael Slivoski, 61, of the Bennington Rural Fire Department, who attempted to also stop him.

Slivoski told police Ring hit him and another truck, pinning him against both vehicles, according to a sworn statement by Bennington police officer Corey Briggs. Slivoski reportedly fractured his pelvis and was taken by the Bennington Rescue Squad to Albany Medical Center in New York for further treatment.

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"While Bennington rescue was on scene they were attempting to retrieve his name and date of birth but Slivoski was having difficulty spelling his last name," Briggs wrote in the affidavit submitted in court.

Another firefighter on scene told police Ring had tried to come through the roadblock about two hours earlier. The Bennington Rural Fire Department was on site, along with other first responders, after receiving a call about a tractor-trailer that had overturned on Route 9 Tuesday evening.

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Investigators said Ring's speech was slurred and mumbled at times. He also appeared "confused on where he was and the events leading to the crash," reportedly saying he had been trying numerous times to get to North Adams from either Pittsfield, Mass., Stephentown, N.Y., Troy, N.Y. or Bennington.

Ring said he didn't see the yellow flashing lights on the roadway or the red emergency lights on the firefighters' vehicles, according to the police affidavit.

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A preliminary breath test found he had a blood alcohol content of 0. Meanwhile, a drug recognition evaluation concluded he was "under the influence of Narcotic Analgesics and could not operate a motor vehicle safely."

Ring was released from custody that same day and instructed to appear in court Thursday. He didn't show up. The charges he faces, both felonies, are each punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Police say he has a criminal history in both Massachusetts and California. Court records list his mailing address as Lake Isabell, Calif.

Contact Tiffany Tan at ttan@benningtonbanner.com or @tiffgtan on Twitter.


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