Ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh seriously hurt in car crash
Former FBI director Louis Freeh speaks about the Freeh Report during a news conference, Thursday, July 12, 2012, in Philadelphia. Freeh was injured in a car crash Monday afternoon in Vermont. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)
BARNARD, Vt. — Former FBI director Louis Freeh was seriously injured in a car crash Monday afternoon in Barnard, the Vermont State Police confirmed Monday night.
State police in Royalton received a 911 call at 12:16 p.m. regarding a one-vehicle crash near 2762 Vermont 12. Troopers responded, along with rescue and fire personnel from the Barnard area.
Freeh, 64, of Wilmington, Del. was airlifted from Barnard to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. for treatment, police said. He has a summer home in Barnard.
A spokesman from Dartmouth-Hitchcock said he could neither confirm nor deny whether Freeh was at the hospital, because Freeh's name was absent from a list of patients whose information could be released to the media.
Freeh was the FBI's director from 1993 to 2001. He oversaw some of the largest and most complex investigations in the FBI's history, including the crash of TWA 800, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, the Unabomber, the spy case against the FBI's own Robert Hanssen, and the Khobar Towers bombing.
More recently, he was hired by Penn State to examine the handling of child sex abuse complaints involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire FBI remain with former Director Freeh and his family tonight," current Director James Comey said in a statement.
State police said an investigation revealed that
Freeh was headed south on Vermont 12 in his 2010 GMC Yukon when he drove off the east side of the road. The vehicle struck a mailbox and a row of shrubs, then came to rest against the side of a tree, police said.
Freeh was wearing his seat belt, and no one else was injured, police said. The cause of the crash is pending investigation.
Police said Monday night that no other information was available.
The Vermont State Police initially said little about Monday's crash, even though a news crew from Fox 44/ABC 22 was on the scene.
State police waited until about 8:30 p.m. more than eight hours after the crash, to issue a news release — and only after repeated calls from local and national news media.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said Monday night that he would investigate why his department delayed releasing details about the crash and had been unresponsive to media inquiries during the afternoon.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who is acting governor while Gov. Peter Shumlin is on vacation, said Monday night he was unaware of the crash until being told about it by the Burlington Free Press.
"It's something I would have liked to have known about," Scott said. "Anything that is drawing national interest to Vermont."
Freeh is a longtime friend of U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.
Leahy frequently has mentioned times Freeh has visited the senior senator and his wife, Marcelle, at their Middlesex home.
Contributing: Elizabeth Murray and Mike Donoghue, Burlington Free Press.