11/24/2003

Deputy sheriff killed in car crash

Officer Down: Deputy Sheriff Ruby Rainault - [Essex County Sheriff's Department, Vermont]

November 25, 2003

By Wilson Ring

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTPELIER - An Essex County deputy sheriff was killed Monday when her cruiser was hit broadside by a truck on U.S. Route 2 in Lunenburg, officials said.

Vermont State Police Lt. George Hacking identified the victim as Deputy Ruby Rainault.

Hacking did not know the details of the accident.

Route 2 was closed for several hours Monday while state police continued to investigate the accident, Hacking said.

Chittenden County Sheriff Kevin McLaughlin said the last time a sheriff's deputy was killed in the line of duty was in 1982 when a deputy was killed directing traffic. Prior to that a deputy was killed in 1978 while transporting a prisoner, he said.

Gov. James Douglas said he would order state flags to be flown at half mast to honor Rainault's memory.

"It's alway a tragedy when a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty," Douglas said. "Vermont is very grateful for her service and her sacrifice."

Jane Woodruff, the executive director of the Department of State's Attorneys' and Sheriffs' Association, said sheriffs across the state have offered help to the Essex County department.

"The Sheriffs' Association's heartfelt condolences go out to the Rainault family. Each sheriff's office has extended any assistance they can to the Essex County sheriff's department in this time of their loss and grief," Woodruff said.

Authorities said Rainault was on duty and attempting a U-turn when she was hit broadside by a truck driven by Israel Clark of Bristol.

Essex County is Vermont's least populous and most remote county. Sheriff Amos Colby has five or six part-time deputies.

Earlier this year Colby told the state police he had to give up most of his law enforcement duties because of a lack of funds.

The Essex County deputies spent most of their time transporting prisoners or on non-law enforcement duties.
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