Grand jury declines to indict ex-trooper for leaving scene of Fulton County fatal accident

Hamilton County District Attorney James Curry announced the grand jury's decision today.

LAKE PLEASANT — A Fulton County grand jury voted to dismiss the felony complaint filed in May against ex-state trooper Brian Beardsley, who was alleged to have run over a Northville man and then left the scene of the fatal accident.

Hamilton County District Attorney James Curry was assigned as special prosecutor in the case against Beardsley and announced the grand jury’s decision today.

Authorities determined that 29-year-old Chad Finch was lying in the road about 2:40 a.m. on May 22 when Beardsley ran over him with his pickup truck.

The grand jury in the case declined to indict Beardsley for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Curry said in a news release that the purpose of the Vehicle and Traffic Law section is to insure that the operators of motor vehicles involved in an incident where personal injury has occurred do not evade the potential civil or criminal responsibilities by failing to establish their identity to the injured party or to the police.

The grand jury found no basis for the felony charge, as the statute doesn’t specify the means or method to be used in making the report.

Beardsley, an eight-year trooper who worked out of the Mayfield barracks, was off duty at the time of the accident. A woman, later identified as Beardsley’s girlfriend, called police from a cellphone at 2:41 a.m. on May 22 to report that there was a body on the side of the roadway.

When police arrived, there were no vehicles at the scene. Finch’s body was found in the southbound lane, in the area south of 1246 County Highway 110.

The statute doesn’t require that the defendant remain at the scene of the incident if no one is present, Curry said.

The statute also does not specify the time period within which the operator must report the incident if there is no one at the scene of the incident to make a report.

Beardsley was found to be driver of the vehicle that came struck Finch. He was driving south on County Highway 110 and told investigators he observed something in the roadway and turned around to see what it was. He said he discovered the victim’s body and his girlfriend then called police.

“The evidence indicated that a call was made to the police, which notified them of the incident,” Curry said in the news release.

Police located Beardsley’s vehicle in Amsterdam, inspected and determined that it had run over Finch.

Police received “specific answers” to all questions that were asked, including Beardsley’s location, Curry said.

“The defendant gave additional specifics during a face-to-face interview, consented to have the vehicle he operated taken as evidence and provided a breath sample to determine if he had consumed alcohol,” Curry said in the news release.

Evidence indicated Beardsley was neither impaired nor intoxicated at the time of the accident, the release said.

“This grand jury discharged its duties carefully and diligently,” Curry said in the news release.

Beardsley was suspended without pay on May 24 and later left the state police, but the state declined to say whether he resigned or was dismissed.

Categories: Schenectady County

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