State rep charged with DUI Wednesday morning

by Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First, Vermont Business Magazine. MONTPELIER -- A state legislator from Bennington was arrested outside the Vermont State House on Wednesday morning on a charge of driving while under the influence, Montpelier Police said. 

Police said Representative James Carroll (D-Bennington) was stopped as he pulled his car into a parking lot at the so-called Pink Lady, a multi-story building which serves as the office for the Joint Fiscal Affairs Office at 1 Baldwin Street.

After processing Carroll, police said they ordered him to appear in Vermont Superior Court in Barre at 8:30 a.m. March 7 on the DUI charge. 

Carroll will not be contesting the criminal charge, according to Representative Kathleen James, D-Manchester, the assistant majority leader. 

Carroll provided the following public statement through James: 

“I have been and remain dedicated to the people of Bennington. I know I have disappointed people and disappointed myself,” Carroll's statement said. 

"I want to get better, and I’m going to take active steps to do that. I am grateful to everyone for giving me the time and support I need," it said. 

Montpelier Police Chief Eric Nordenson said the results of the breath test will be available at Carroll's court arraignment.  Under Vermont law, adults are presumed to be under the influence at 0.08 percent. 

Carroll, who also has been a Bennington selectboard member since 2012, is in a contested race for a 3-year seat on Town Meeting Day next month. 

Carroll, 62, drew the attention of Patrol Sgt. Chris Quesnel because of a loud muffler about 8:24 a.m., Nordenson reported. 

Quesnel heard a loud defective muffler as a car passed him near the former U.S. Post Office on East State Street, police said.  The officer followed the car, which did not have Vermont legislative plates, to 1 Baldwin Street where Quesnel spoke to the driver, police said.

During the investigative stop, Quesnel developed suspicion about possible alcohol impairment, police said.  Carroll declined to undergo standardized field sobriety exercises, but agreed to submit a roadside breath test.  The non-evidentiary test was above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, police said.  

Carroll was later brought to the Montpelier Police Station, where he was formally processed for suspected DUI, the chief said. 

Quesnel said Carroll was brought back to 1 Baldwin Street when released about 10 a.m.  Carroll received a written warning for defective equipment for the loud muffler, the chief said. 

Carroll was seen later in the day in the State House.  He made a stop at the office of House Speaker Jill Krowinski and was seen walking out with Representative Dane Whitman, D-Bennington.

Carroll serves on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.  Carroll also served a term in the House from 2019-2020.  He returned in 2023 after ousting Rep. Michael Nigro, D-Bennington, who had bumped Carroll out of the House two years earlier. 

The Bennington native is a 1980 graduate of Mount Anthony Union High School and received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice and English literature from Southern Vermont College. 

Carroll's legislative biography notes he has been self-employed throughout his working life.

Vermont Business Magazine