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Vermont man uses tractor to flatten 8 police cars

Demian Warner / The Newport Daily Express

Police say a man drove a tractor over eight police vehicles Thursday. The damage is estimated to be about $250,000.

A man driving a farm tractor ran over eight vehicles in the parking lot of a Vermont police station in an apparent revenge scheme, according to local reports.

Police said Roger Pion, 34, of Newport, Vt., flattened seven marked police cruisers and one unmarked personal vehicle at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department in Derby, Vt., around 12:40 p.m. Thursday. 

“We came out and sure enough there was someone who had run over our cruisers with a tractor,” Chief Dep. Philip Brooks of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Dept. told WCAX.

Not only were their roofs and hoods caved in, but “the radios are ruined, the radar detectors, the cages in the cars … We’re going to have to get the jaws of life up here to pry the trunks open and see about the rifles and shotguns,” Sheriff Kirk Martin told the Associated Press.

With the vehicles crushed, police had no way to pursue Pion after he drove off in the tractor.

Demian Warner / The Newport Daily Express

Police say Roger Pion took out more than half of the sheriff department's fleet -- some of its newest vehicles were only four months old.

“It felt like I was in a Monster Jam rally or something,” witness Rene Morris told WCAX. “I just couldn’t believe it. He’s backing up, going over it, turns around, makes his way to the other vehicles smashes those up, did his business and headed right down Route 5.”

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Police eventually caught up with Pion a mile and a half from the police station and arrested him. The motive is still under investigation, but witnesses believe Pion was angry about his recent arrest for marijuana possession and resisting arrest.

Stephanie Dasaro / Vermont State Police

Police arrested Roger Pion of Newport, V.T., after the tractor incident. He also was arrested recently for marijuana possession and resisting arrest.

The damage is estimated to be about $250,000, according to police.

No one was injured. At least two deputies had gone inside a few moments before after washing their vehicles, officers said.

Brooks said the destroyed vehicles constituted more than half of the fleet of sheriff’s cruisers in the rural county on the Canadian border. The others were out on patrol. Since the incident, neighboring counties have offered their help.

“We have other county sheriff’s departments who are offering cruisers to us,” Brooks said. “We’ve already had one county that’s dropped one off to us and we’ve got two others that are on the way.”

It’s not known where Pion got the tractor but police said he comes from a farm family.

Demian Warne / The Newport Daily Express

Police don't know where Pion got the tractor from but say he comes from a farm family.

Pion was held at the Northern State Correctional Center in Newport in lieu of $15,000 bail.

He is expected to appear in Orleans County Criminal Court Friday to answer to seven counts of felony unlawful mischief, one count of misdemeanor unlawful mischief, one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of gross negligent operation, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident. 

A man driving a tractor crushes 7 police vehicles parked at a sheriff's department headquarters in Vermont. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

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