Vermont man guilty of murder in wrong-way crash that killed 5 teens

A man in Vermont was convicted Wednesday in the deaths of five teenagers killed in a crash after he drove the wrong way on an interstate highway.

The jury returned the verdict in the case of Steven Bourgoin on its second day of deliberations following a two-week trial in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.

The jury rejected the claim by Bourgoin that he was insane at the time of the October 2016 crash on Interstate 89 in Williston.

A jury found Steven Bourgoin guilty of murder charges in the October 2016 deaths of five teenagers, caused when he drove the wrong way on an interstate highway. He faces 20-years to life in prison on each count. (Ryan Mercer/The Burlington Free Press via AP, Pool)

A jury found Steven Bourgoin guilty of murder charges in the October 2016 deaths of five teenagers, caused when he drove the wrong way on an interstate highway. He faces 20-years to life in prison on each count. (Ryan Mercer/The Burlington Free Press via AP, Pool)

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Bourgoin, 38, had pleaded not guilty to five counts of second-degree murder and other charges stemming from the crash. He faces 20-years to life in prison on each count.

The crash killed Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury. Four of the teenagers attended Harwood Union High School in Duxbury. Cozzi attended Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire.

Bourgoin was seriously injured and initially arraigned at the hospital.

Bourgoin’s attorneys acknowledged that he caused the crash but said he was insane at the time. Psychiatrists testified that in the days leading up to the crash, Bourgoin thought he was on a secret mission, believing he was in danger and thinking he was getting inferences from lights, radios and television static about what to do.

Prosecutors countered that Bourgoin was troubled at the time of the crash, grappling with custody, relationship and financial issues, but his condition did not meet the legal definition of being insane.

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During the trial, prosecutors outlined how Bourgoin left his home that night, got onto I-89 going south and then turned around, approaching 90 miles per hour north in the southbound lane. He collided with the car that carried the teenagers in Williston.

After the initial crash, Bourgoin allegedly stole a Williston police cruiser and again headed south on the interstate before turning around and crashing again into vehicles at the original crash scene.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.