Burlington Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Negligent Driving While Off-Duty | Crime | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Burlington Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Negligent Driving While Off-Duty


Published June 7, 2024 at 5:27 p.m.

  • Alain Lacroix | Dreamstime
A Burlington police officer has pleaded guilty to negligently driving his motorcycle while off-duty after he reached speeds of about 100 miles per hour while crossing into oncoming traffic as he passed cars.

Jeffrey Baur, 32, entered his plea on Wednesday, the day he was scheduled to go on trial for the misdemeanor. He will be fined $300, plus $192 in court charges.

Franklin County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Nadeau was parked at a car dealership on Swanton Road in St. Albans at around 5:45 p.m. on October 19 when three motorcycles flew by at what he estimated was 90 to 100 miles per hour, the deputy later recounted in a sworn affidavit that was filed in court. The posted speed limit was 35 miles per hour, Nadeau wrote. Baur was riding his motorcycle alongside another Burlington police officer, Brady McGee, 30, and Burlington firefighter Joshua Porter, 36.

Nadeau's written account details what he says happened: He activated his lights and siren and started to pursue the bikers. The motorcycles passed groups of three and four cars in no-passing areas, prompting oncoming drivers “to swerve onto the shoulder of the road to avoid a collision.” This continued for 2.3 miles, during which Nadeau drove 90 miles per hour. Even at that speed, Nadeau wrote, he would gain on the bikers, only for them to "pull away from me again."

He was about to give up the chase because of how dangerous it was when two of the three bikers, Baur and Porter, pulled onto a side street in Swanton and parked. Nadeau pulled up and asked Baur and Porter “what they were doing driving like that.”

“Just being stupid sir,” Baur replied, according to the deputy's affidavit. “There’s no excuse.”

They told Nadeau that they hadn’t heard his siren because they wear earbuds. They eventually stopped at their destination.

While the three were talking, Timothy Chagnon, a retired Vermont State Police lieutenant, arrived and introduced himself.

“This idiot passed me while two cars are coming at him. If you need a statement or any help afterwards I’ll give it to you. Both of them,” Chagnon said, pointing to Baur and Porter. Then, he added, “You are so fucking stupid, you almost killed someone, you dumb son of a bitch,” according to the deputy's affidavit.

Chagnon later provided a witness statement, as did another driver who stopped to yell at the motorcyclists.

Nadeau then asked Baur and Porter for the name of the third biker, but “they said they were uncomfortable giving their friends [sic] name,” the affidavit reads. Around this same time, dispatch reported a motorcycle crash a mile away. After citing Baur and Porter, Nadeau responded.

At that scene, he found a motorcycle but no rider; the bike was registered to McGee. Nadeau then received a call from dispatch — McGee was on the line, using Baur’s phone. McGee asked if he could come pick up his motorcycle, but Nadeau told him it was being taken by a tow truck. The deputy arranged to meet McGee at his house to discuss the speeding and crash.

The deputy's account says that McGee told Nadeau he hadn’t seen the deputy chasing him and his friends. He said a deer had run in front of him, causing him to go off the road. Nadeau reported that he “could smell a faint odor of intoxicants coming from McGee.

“When asked he said that when he got home he was shaken up so he had a couple beers,” Nadeau wrote. “McGee was uninjured from the crash.”

McGee and Porter were also charged with negligent operation. They've pleaded not guilty and have hearings scheduled later this month and in July, respectively.

Baur and McGee were placed on paid administrative leave in December and remain out, according to Joe Magee, a spokesperson for Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak.

Asked about Porter’s status with the fire department and whether he’d faced disciplinary action, Burlington Fire Chief Michael LaChance said Porter “is not on leave and is working his regular shifts serving the citizens of Burlington.”

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