BURLINGTON — Former FBI Director Louis Freeh claims he has no recollection of crashing his SUV off Vermont 12 in Barnard last week, Vermont State Police said Wednesday.
State police spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro said the state would not seek any court charges or issue traffic tickets to the former chief federal law enforcement officer.
"Mr. Freeh was interviewed and does not remember how the crash occurred. A lack of memory is common in crashes of this nature," Dasaso said in a news release.
She declined to elaborate on the type of crash to which she was referring. She referred questions to high-ranking police officers.
Capt. Ray Keefe, state police commander for southeastern Vermont, said Freeh is expected to receive a written warning.
"That's pretty consistent with these types of crashes," Keefe told the Burlington Free Press. He said Freeh was interviewed last Wednesday.
State police theorize that Freeh, 64, of Wilmington, Del., may have fallen asleep during the early afternoon crash.
While troopers may never be able to determine exactly what happened, "Mr. Freeh's lack of recollection, the circumstances of the crash, and the lack of an identified mechanical problem points to Mr. Freeh falling asleep and drifting off the east side of the roadway," the state police statement said.
"We'll probably never know," Keefe said. The wrecker SUV remains in the impound lot at the state police barracks in Royalton.
Earlier state police had said there was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the Aug. 25 crash.
"That was based on personal observation, no probable cause and a lack of suspicion," Keefe said in explaining why no test was administered.
Freeh received serious injuries in the wreck. He underwent surgery at least twice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where he was admitted under armed guard, the authorities said.
U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., visited Freeh at the Lebanon, N.H., hospital last Friday.
It was unknown whether Freeh was still at the hospital on Wednesday.
Freeh was southbound on a rural stretch of Vermont 12 in Barnard in a 50 mph zone when he drove his 2010 GMC Yukon off the left side of the road at about 12:15 p.m., the police said. Barnard is about a 80-minute drive southeast of Burlington.
The vehicle struck a mailbox and a row of shrubs, then came to rest against the side of a tree, the preliminary investigation by Trooper Mark Harvey shows.
The top of Freeh's SUV was cut off by rescuers from the White River Valley Ambulance, Barnard Fire Department and Barnard First Response to free him during the rescue, police said. Freeh was wheeled down the road on a stretcher and airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
There were no signs of skid marks or brake marks, investigators said. The section of road was relatively straight and flat.
Freeh, whose family has a vacation home in Barnard, was traveling alone. He was wearing his seat belt, the police said.
Once the investigation is complete, a Uniform Crash Report will be submitted to the Vermont Division of Motor Vehicles.
The crash was first reported by media in Washington, D.C., citing anonymous sources. The Vermont State Police news release followed those initial reports by nearly two more hours, arriving at 8:22 p.m. more than 8 hours after the crash.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn has been investigating why state police needed eight hours to release information about the crash, and why media calls were not directed to the night commander in southern Vermont as expected.
Freeh, a former federal judge, was the FBI's director from 1993 to 2001. At the FBI, he oversaw some of the largest and most complex investigations in the bureau's history, including the crash of TWA flight 800, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, the Unabomber, the spy case against the FBI's own Robert Hanssen, and the Khobar Towers bombing.