On Tuesday Vermont Department of Public Safety Commissioner Keith W. Flynn issued a press release regarding the initial findings on the tragic death of VSP Trooper Kyle Young. Trooper Young was participating in tryouts for the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit when the incident occurred. Below is the full report.
Events Surrounding Trooper Young’s Death:
On September 17, 2015 Trooper Kyle Young was involved in the testing process to join the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit. The Tactical Services Unit (TSU) provides advanced tactical support to all law enforcement agencies in Vermont. The testing process for TSU consists of three phases: 1) candidate interview, 2) a practical firearms test, and 3) a physical fitness test. Trooper Young was one of six candidates vying for two open positions on TSU.
The physical fitness test on September 17th was administered by Tpr. Matthew Johnson, a TSU member and a physical fitness coordinator for the state police. He was assisted by Sgt. David White, an assistant team leader on TSU, and Tpr. Matthew Cannon, a TSU member.
Each candidate participated in the physical fitness test individually. Tpr. Young was the fifth candidate to participate in the test on September 17th. Four candidates had completed the test prior to Tpr. Young.
Prior to the physical fitness test, Tpr. Johnson reviewed details of the test with the candidates. Tpr. Johnson advised each candidate that the test was strenuous and he discussed various topics to include: injuries, medical conditions, training preparation, and hydration. There were no concerns raised by any candidate.
Tpr. Johnson recorded an outside temperature of 75 degrees at the beginning of the first test. According to the National Weather Service in Burlington, the temperature at the approximate time of Tpr. Young’s test was 82 degrees.
While completing the physical fitness test each applicant wore a military style BDU (battle dress uniform) outfitted with body armor and black boots.
Tpr. Johnson transported each applicant to the testing area. He observed Tpr. Young drinking water at that time. Each applicant is supervised and evaluated for the duration of the test by TSU personnel. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was present in the vehicle at the testing site. Additionally, water was available in the vehicle for each applicant.
The test is timed with no minimum required standard. It includes the following components, in the order they are completed:
10 burpees (from the standing position, the candidate must drop to the push-up position, conduct one push up and return to the standing position by jumping with both hands in the air)
1 mile run
With gas mask on, pick up a door ram and perform lunges for approximately 20 feet
Run approximately 40 yards with ram
Drop the ram, remove the gas mask and low crawl for approximately 30 feet
Pick up a ballistic shield, run to 5 staggered cones, take a knee simulating a position of cover at each cone (approximately 50 feet)
Run with the shield for approximately 50 yards
Drop the shield and flip a tractor tire 5 times
Drag the tire for approximately 15 feet
Run to 5 staggered cones and lay in the prone position at each cone (approximately 50 feet)
Drag another trooper for approximately 30 feet
Climb approximately 30 feet up and down a sand hill
With gas mask back on disassemble and reassemble a handgun
Trooper Young began his physical fitness test at 1:24 p.m. Prior to his collapse he had the best time of the previous four candidates that day at that point in the test. He was approximately ten minutes ahead of everyone else.
Tpr. Johnson, Sgt. White and Tpr. Cannon observed Tpr. Young from the base of the hill. Tpr. Young began crawling on all fours up the hill, which is common for this portion of the test. As he approached the cone at the top of the hill, Tpr. Young stopped moving forward. After struggling for approximately one minute Tpr. Johnson went up the hill to his location. Tpr. Johnson laid down on the sand next to Tpr. Young and asked if he was ok. Tpr. Young responded, “I’m fine, I’m good.” Tpr. Johnson asked Tpr. Young if he wanted to quit and he responded “no.” Tpr. Johnson asked Tpr. Young what was going on and he responded “I’m tired.” Tpr. Johnson asked Tpr. Young if he was experiencing any medical issues and he said “no, I’m tired.”
As Tpr. Johnson spoke with Tpr. Young, his arms were still moving in a forward type motion but his knees were stagnant. Tpr. Johnson observed that Tpr. Young’s eyes looked “droopy” and were half closed. He asked Tpr. Young to recite his name, date of birth and to count backwards from 10. Tpr. Young completed all three requests successfully and was alert and talking.
Tpr. Johnson continued to ask Tpr. Young questions and noticed that Tpr. Young’s eyes were half closed. Tpr. Johnson then instructed Tpr. Young to stop moving and requested Sgt. White and Tpr. Cannon to bring either water or Powerade. Tpr. Cannon ran up the hill with a sugar gel pack (used to treat low blood sugar and replenish electrolytes lost during strenuous activity). Tpr. Johnson opened the pack and squirted it into Tpr. Young’s mouth.
At this point Tpr. Young did not appear to be breathing. Tpr. Young was then rolled onto his back and his ballistic vest was removed. Tpr. Johnson ran down the hill and contacted 911 via his cell phone at approximately 1:48pm. Tpr. Cannon also ran down to his cruiser to request rescue via police radio. Lt Michael Manley, the commander of TSU, was contacted as well as the Military Range Control Officer.
Tpr. Johnson grabbed the AED from his cruiser and went back up the hill where they attached the leads to Tpr. Young. At this point Tpr. Young appeared to be alert but was not verbal. The AED did not detect any treatable heart rhythm and was never used to administer a shock. Tpr. Johnson and Sgt. White immediately began CPR on Tpr. Young which continued until rescue arrived on scene.
Lt. Manley, Sgt. Corey Lozier and Sgt. Hugh O’Donnell arrived on the scene and assisted with CPR. Tpr. Young was transported to the UVM Medical Center by Essex Rescue where he was pronounced deceased.