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August 27, 2013

E'town man's death ruled accidental

ELIZABETHTOWN — An Elizabethtown man who fell down a steep, rocky embankment last Friday died of accidental causes, State Police say.

A family member found Albert W. Barclay, 74, about 225 feet from where he had first lost his footing on the slope, which leads to Branch Brook, according to State Police Troop B Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.

He said Barclay, who lived a short distance away from the spot off Water Street, was conscious and had suffered head and back injuries.

LaFountain said Elizabethtown Rescue took Barclay to the hospital, then he was transferred to Fletcher Allen in Burlington, where he was pronounced dead at 11:52 p.m. 

“Today,” LaFountain said on Monday afternoon, “the Vermont Medical Examiner’s Office determined that cause of death was blunt impact injuries to head and torso due to a fall down a rock embankment.”

That office made the ruling of accidental death.

“He may have had a medical issue that contributed to this accidental death,” LaFountain said.

‘KIDS LOVED HIM’

Barclay was a retired school-bus driver. Debbie Brooks of Elizabethtown remembered him driving the school bus when she was a child.

“He was always a very nice man,” she said. “He was very nice to me.”

Even after she had grown up, Brooks said, Barclay remembered her from her childhood days on the school bus and always had a kind greeting for her. 

“He knew my parents, too,” she added.

Brooks is Elizabethtown town clerk, so she also remembered Barclay stopping by the office for such routine business as the purchase of landfill stickers; lately his wife had been stopping by instead, and Brooks said she had not seen him for a long time.

Another Elizabethtown resident with fond memories of Barclay is his neighbor Bertha Rand.

“He was always a good neighbor.”

Rand also recalled Barclay’s days behind the wheel of the school bus. 

“He was really good to the kids,” she said. “He always gave them a candy bar at the holidays. 

“The kids loved him.”

Email Suzanne Moore:smoore@pressrepublican.com

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