Saratoga County

Saratoga DA: Northumberland man gets prison in Americade weekend hit-and-run crash


BALLSTON SPA – A Northumberland man has been  sentenced to a total of three to nine years in state prison in a September hit-and-run crash during Americade weekend, Saratoga County District Attorney’s officials said Thursday.

Michael R. Brownell, 52, of Northumberland, pleaded guilty earlier to aggravated vehicular assault.

Brownell was involved in the hit-and-run crash in the area of Route 32 and Rugg Road in Northumberland Sept. 24, officials said.

Brownell was driving recklessly and intoxicated at the time of the crash, officials said. He failed to stop at a stop sign, lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line and struck a motorcycle head-on, officials said.

That motorcyclist suffered traumatic injuries as he was ejected from the motorcycle and landed in a ditch, officials said.

He also nearly struck two other motorcyclists, officials said.

Brownell then fled the scene without stopping, all as his vehicle sustained heavy front end damage and lost a wheel, officials said. He later concealed the vehicle behind an abandoned farmhouse.

With the help of witnesses, though, sheriff’s deputies caught up with Brownell in a remote are near Goff Road, officials said.

The District Attorney’s Office also included part of the victim’s statement during sentencing. The motorcyclist told the court he had lost full use of his left leg as a result of the crash.

“I remember laying on my back in the field where I was thrown after the collision in excruciating pain,” the motorcyclist told the court. “At first I feared paralysis because I couldn’t move, but after some time I could lift the bloody visor on my helmet. When assistance finally came to my aid it was clear that my left leg was destroyed.”

“To this day I cannot fathom how someone leaves another person for dead after an accident and tries to cover their tracks with lives and misinformation,” the motorcyclist’s statement concluded.

District Attorney Karen Heggen also issued a statement: The “defendant’s choice to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated and in a reckless manner resulted in life-altering injuries to an innocent victim,” Heggen’s statement read. “I hope that this conviction sends a strong message that drunk drivers causing injury on our Saratoga County roadways will be prosecuted for their decision to get behind the wheel and will be met with significant consequences.”

The case was investigated by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Shawn M. Lescault and assisted by Investigator Jack Barney and Crime Victim Specialist Mollie Benware.

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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