By Patricia Minichiello

A man facing charges in a fatal car crash in Castleton has lost a bid to drive to work.

Judge Cortland Corsones denied a motion Wednesday in the case of a 23-year-old facing charges for driving under the influence, and killing his girlfriend in a crash.

John Fairbanks appeared in Rutland criminal court to ask Corsones permission to drive to his job at Todd Transportation in Rutland, while the charges against him are still pending.

Corsones took a 10-minute recess to weigh all the evidence, then returned to the courtroom to deny the request.

“The horrific circumstances in the case, including the loss of life suffered by the young lady as a result of this accident,”Corsones said, “along with the fact that the defendant had a BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) over the legal limit,” was reason to deny the motion.

The night of the crash Fairbanks had a BAC of  0.097 percent, according to the affidavit. The legal limit to drive in Vermont is 0.08 percent.

“The blood test also indicated that he had THC in his system, meaning he had smoked marijuana as well,” the judge said.

The judge touched on the fact that there may have been significant issues with the brakes as well as other mechanical problems with the vehicle, but he said it doesn’t excuse driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

On Nov. 29, 2014, Stephanie Briggs, 23, was killed when her vehicle crashed near Brown’s Four Corners in Castleton around 7:40 p.m. Police said the Volkswagen Passat crossed into the southbound lane, spun before going airborne, struck a utility pole and broke into three sections.

When police arrived on scene, Trooper Steven Schutt said in the affidavit, Fairbanks was walking around the vehicle, “yelling and screaming and throwing debris around” and Briggs was on the ground, outside of the vehicle.

Police on the scene said Fairbanks told them that Briggs was driving, according to the affidavit.

But Brigg’s mother, Susan Lynde, told police in the affidavit, that Fairbanks called the next day and said, ‘I’m sorry I killed Stephanie. I was driving and I already told police and gave them my DNA. I’m so sorry.”

The judge said Wednesday that Fairbanks did go to alcohol counseling for three months and then stopped. He also said the defendant has a previous history of license suspensions, including a 90-day suspension, a 6-month suspension and an indefinate suspension in 2013.

“He has had some significant difficulties with his license well before this case,” Corsones said before ruling to deny the motion.

If convicted, Fairbanks could face a prison sentence of one to 15 years and a fine of $10,000 or both.

Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of You can reach her at