Teenage Officer Dies After Suspect Hit Head-On, Not Wearing Seatbelt


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RUTLAND, VT – A tragic incident unfolded Friday in Rutland City as 19-year-old Police Officer Jessica Ebbighausen lost her life when her patrol car was struck head-on by a suspect vehicle during a pursuit. 

The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Tate Rheaume, was being chased by other officers following a burglary in progress. The collision occurred at the intersection of Stratton Road and Woodstock Avenue, where Rheaume’s pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed into Officer Ebbighausen’s patrol car.

Officer Ebbighausen tragically succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Two other officers and the suspect were injured in the crash and received medical attention. The suspect was subsequently taken into custody.

The incident occurred at around 3:00 pm while Officer Ebbighausen and her training officer were en route to respond to the burglary call. She was a part-time officer undergoing field training and was set to attend the Vermont Police Academy the following month to become a full-time officer.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott expressed his deep sorrow over the loss, stating, “I am deeply saddened by the death of Jessica Ebbighausen, a Rutland City police officer tragically killed in a vehicle crash while on duty today. My deepest condolences go out to her family and friends, all members of the Rutland City Police Department, and the entire Rutland community.”

Officer Ebbighausen, a resident of Ira, Vermont, joined the Rutland Police Department in May as a part-time officer. She had aspirations of becoming a full-time officer and was scheduled to begin training at the Vermont Police Academy in August.

Rheaume was charged with grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with death resulting, and attempting to elude with death resulting. Additional charges are also pending.  Rheaume is now being held on half a million dollars bond while being treated for injuries at the University of Vermont Medical Center.


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