A 28-year-old man has been charged with vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and other felonies. These charges include leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident after he allegedly struck and killed a 69-year-old bicyclist in the northern New York village of Canton. According to law enforcement officers, the defendant was also under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the fatal accident occurred.
This was not the first driving-related run-in with the law for the defendant, who was arrested after witnesses to the crash described him and his vehicle to police. In 2009, he was also arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene, along with other violations. The following year, he was charged with DWI when he reportedly struck a guardrail in Rensselaer Falls and left his car there.
The victim, who died at the scene of the crash, was a well-liked local man in the area. A retired math teacher, he worked as a night auditor at a local motel. He was biking to his job just before 11 p.m. when the accident occurred. After his death was announced, friends and colleagues told the local media stories of his generosity to motel guests whom he felt needed a little help, including paying out of his own pocket for their room or food.
The defendant charged with vehicular assault in this case appears to be a far less sympathetic person than the victim. This will likely work against him, particularly if the case is heard by a jury. However, he is still entitled to his day in court and to legal representation. Criminal defense attorneys can also work within the legal system to try to get their clients the help they need, such as substance abuse treatment – which can help them avoid further legal problems later on and keep them from harming others or themselves.
Source: Watertown Daily Times, “Canton man remembered by hotel coworkers after hit-and-run death Monday” W.T. Eckert, Dec. 26, 2013