The Burlington Free Press reported on Aug. 11 that driver Donald Ibey, 86, of Barre Town said he was traveling down a steep section of Hill Street in Barre in the 22-year-old car “when he heard a pop,” a police report noted after the crash.
The newspaper said that, according to court records, the sedan continued out of control and crashed, killing Mr. Ibey's wife Elizabeth Ibey, 82, of Barre Town on July 5, 2014.
The Free Press said Mr. Jalbert is employed at his family's business, A.J.'s Sunoco — an inspection facility licensed by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles — in Barre.
It also reported that an inspection sticker was issued May 9, 2014, although visibly unsafe conditions were showing, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records that indicated Mr. Ibey's car traveled only 383 miles from the time of the inspection until the crash. As part of its investigation, the DMV asked a forensic expert on motor vehicles to check the car.
This matter was referred to the Vermont attorney general's office in November 2014, following an investigation conducted by the Enforcement and Safety Division of the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
The AASP/NJ told its members a police affidavit showed that the mechanic did not take basic steps in inspecting the car — such as testing the brakes, putting the car on a lift, removing a wheel or testing it on the road.
Mr. Jalbert was using an out-of-date manual as reference, according to the AASP/NJ. The Free Press reported that the technician provided three voluntary sworn recorded statements that included “several admissions about his failure to properly inspect Ibey's vehicle,” a DMV officer told the newspaper.
That officer added in the Free Press story that the mechanic “displayed no signs of remorse or concern over his involvement in the matters leading to the death of Mrs. Ibey.”
The alliance said in the message to its members that “the impact of this decision is being felt all along the Northeast as a reality check.”
Mr. Bryant called it “a wake-up call…,” adding that “it's one thing if you allowed a bad job to get out of your shop and were sued — there's insurance to cover things like that—but to go to jail for doing a careless job is a whole different story.
“So many shops try to do the right thing but are told by insurers that they won't properly reimburse them for what needs to be done. They say things like they will only pay for used suspension, which, in my opinion, is the worst thing that could be done!
“Used suspension from a total loss (vehicle) should never be used; there could be internal damage that puts peoples' lives in jeopardy. We have to stand up and say no in cases like that.”