A 33-year-old New York man is facing a raft of charges including a felony count of drunk driving in connection with a July 27 accident in Cayuga County that claimed the life of an 18-year-old woman. The man also suffered injuries in the crash, and his arraignment was held in his room at a Syracuse hospital. His bail was set at $50,000 in cash or a $100,000 bond. Prosecutors say that additional charges may be filed against the man once the police investigation into the accident is complete.
The accident took place on East Lake Road in Owasco at approximately 9:41 a.m. According to a Cayuga County Sheriff's Office report, the man's Chevrolet Avalanche struck the rear of the woman's SUV soon after it had turned onto East Lake Road from a parking lot near Tom Thumb Drive. Emergency response personnel rushed the badly hurt woman to an area hospital, but she succumbed to her injuries later in the day.
The man is facing a felony DWI charge due to a previous drunk driving conviction in 2011. The man's driving privileges were still revoked at the time of the accident, which led to an additional charge of aggravated unlicensed operation. He was also charged for driving a vehicle that did not have an ignition interlock device installed. Reports indicate that the man did not own the vehicle that he was traveling in at the time of the crash.
Drunk driving cases often hinge on the results of toxicology tests. The equipment used to perform these tests is highly sophisticated, but it must be meticulously maintained and regularly recalibrated. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may study the maintenance logs of breath testing equipment or the chains of custody of blood samples in DWI cases, and they may seek to have drunk driving charges dismissed in situations where breath testing equipment may have been compromised or blood samples mishandled.