Hypothermia killed accident victim

Autopsy results have determined that snowmobile accident victim Shawn Simboli died from hypothermia

Autopsy results have determined that snowmobile accident victim Shawn Simboli died from hypothermia and that drinking may have contributed to his condition.

Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey said Wednesday the autopsy, conducted at Nathan Littauer Hospital, also determined Simboli suffered minor injuries in the Sunday night accident on the Great Sacandaga Lake near Vandenburg Point.

The 49-year-old Simboli, a carpenter from Broadalbin, walked about two miles after crashing his machine through the ice, investigators believe. His body was found Monday afternoon in a fishing shanty in Sunset Bay. He had pulled a mattress around him to try to stay warm, Lorey said Tuesday.

Lorey said Simboli had a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent, twice the legal driving limit. Lorey theorized that Simboli was disoriented from hypothermia after crawling from the water.

Fulton County Coroner Arthur Simmons, who pronounced Simboli dead about 6 p.m. Monday, said the blood alcohol content was found to be a contributing factor to the hypothermic condition.

Meanwhile, the young man accused of stealing Simboli’s snowmobile after encountering the crash scene while ice fishing Monday is free on $2,500 bail.

Jacob Conyne, 23, of Second Avenue, Mayfield, was charged Tuesday with one count of third-degree grand larceny.

While authorities contend Conyne did not call police until learning a body had been found on the lake, Conyne’s attorney said Wednesday his client carted the machine off the lake in an attempt to return it to the owner.

Mayfield attorney Ronald R. Schur Jr. said he has found at least six witnesses who will testify that Conyne made numerous inquiries to find the owner. Schur said Conyne never intended to keep the machine and did call authorities about two hours after hauling it off the ice in his pickup truck.

Schur questioned how Conyne’s actions could be construed as a theft when he picked up the machine in broad daylight in the presence of a number of witnesses. Schur said retrieving an abandoned machine is considered an obligation in the snowmobiling community.

“It’s a very different story than the one [the Sheriff’s Department] tried to portray,” Schur said.

“It’s very sad that someone died,” Schur said, expressing sympathy to Simboli’s family. But, he said, “that doesn’t justify making an arrest before an investigation is completed.”

Schur said the arrest has been devastating for Conyne and his family.

Categories: Schenectady County

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