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Meet a Police Chief Who Actually Says Reckless Driving Won’t Be Tolerated

Hinesburg, Vermont Police Chief Frank Koss speaking to a group of local schoolchildren. Photo: Twarogsclass
Hinesburg Police Chief Frank Koss. Photo: Twarogsclass
The view from a rooftop in the 1st Ward, looking southeast towards the Loop. Photo: John Greenfield

If only more police officials took dangerous driving as seriously as Frank Koss, chief of police in Hinesburg, Vermont. An outraged Koss took to the pages of his local paper this week after a 17-year-old driver killed a local cyclist, saying “this was not an accident.”

Joseph Marshall, a teenager who already had a record of reckless driving, was hurtling at 83 mph when he struck and killed bicyclist Richard Tom, 47, before crashing into a tree, killing himself.

Koss didn’t mince words:

If Joseph Marshall had not lost his life, he would have been charged with second degree murder. This was not going a little fast or even distracted driving, it was gross careless and negligent driving… Although bicyclists are always aware of the inherent danger from speeding or distracted drivers, this event crossed an unimaginable line.

Koss said he has been haunted throughout his career by driving deaths that were the result of senseless risk taking. He said his department has “zero tolerance” for that kind of behavior and felt guilty the police department hadn’t done more to prevent Marshall from driving.

If you drive in Hinesburg with no regard to others on the road, we will make sure that you are targeted until driving habits are either changed or you are taking a bus. Bicyclists and pedestrians are seriously vulnerable to mistakes by motorists and we will have zero tolerance to unsafe driving that puts lives at risk.

Contrast that with the police department in Bellevue, Washington, which this week pursued no charges or even a citation against a driver who plowed through a local apartment building and demolished a crib — the sleeping baby inside miraculously was unharmed.

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