Steven Bourgoin, 37, the Williston man awaiting trial on five charges of second-degree murder from the October 2016 head-on collision that killed five local teenagers, will raise an insanity defense, according to documents filed by his attorney, Robert Katims, on March 15. The case is being heard in Chittenden Superior Court.
Bourgoin is charged with driving a Toyota truck the wrong way on I-89 southbound when he crashed into a Volkswagen Jetta, killing the five teenagers inside who were on their way home from a concert in Burlington. The students killed were Mary Harris, 16, and Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury; and Janie Chase Cozzi, 15, of Fayston. Four were Harwood Union students. Cozzi was a student at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.
Bourgoin previously pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charges as well as a count of driving a police cruiser without permission. After Bourgoin hit the Jetta, he jumped out of the Toyota truck he was driving and into a Williston police cruiser and continued south on I-89 until he encountered a roadblock. He returned to the scene of the accident, hitting seven other cars as well as the truck he had been driving, before he was taken into custody.
Attorney Katims submitted David Rosmarin, a Massachusetts doctor, to the court as an expert witness last week. Rosmarin is director of McLean Hospital’s Spirituality and Mental Health department.
Previous media reports have detailed Bourgoin’s mental health issues, including the fact that he’d spent the morning of the crash in and out of the emergency room in Burlington. Friends and law enforcement officers have reported that Bourgoin had anxiety and PTSD.
A toxicology report showed Bourgoin had high blood levels of fentanyl, benzodiazepine and THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, eight hours after crash. The level of THC in Bourgoin’s blood was 10 nanograms; drivers in Colorado are presumed to be under the influence with THC levels of 5 nanograms.
If convicted, Bourgoin faces five life sentences. Bourgoin remains in custody and will be back in court on April 6.