Less than a week before his case was to go to a grand jury, a Ballston man pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a Saratoga Springs man last month.
Travis M. Carroll, 23, tearfully admitted in Saratoga County Court Friday morning that the vehicle he was driving hit Ryan Rossley, 27, on Henry Street in Saratoga Springs early in the morning on March 18 and that he left without notifying police.
Rossley died of his injuries at Albany Medical Center more than 12 hours after he was struck at 4:25 a.m.
Carroll was arrested nine days later at his home on Charlton Road in Ballston. He was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and tampering with evidence, both felonies, and at arraignment, he was ordered held in the Saratoga County Jail.
District Attorney James Murphy III said his office was preparing to take the case to a grand jury on Tuesday and among charges to be considered was second-degree murder.
Carroll’s attorney, Gerard Amedio, said his client had been beaten on a street around the corner from where Rossley was struck.
Amedio said Carroll, his father and a friend were in the car early in the morning after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Carroll was the designated driver.
Driving down Caroline Street, Carroll came to a group of people standing in the street and blocking it.
“He beeped his horn, there was an exchange of words and it escalated poorly from there,” Amedio said.
Carroll apparently drove around the corner and parked his car before a second confrontation occurred after he got out of his car and approached the group, Amedio said.
He said Carroll was beaten, threatened with a knife and was in fear of his life when he drove away and shortly after struck Rossley with his car.
Assistant District Attorney James Davis and Saratoga Springs Police Sgt. John Catone both said additional arrests in the case are expected soon, and Davis indicated that at least one person who had been in the crowd with Rossley is expected to be charged.
Catone said more than 75 people have been interviewed in the investigation.
Murphy said he was satisfied with Carroll’s plea to second-degree manslaughter, as it is expected to bring a sentence of 5 to 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced by Judge Jerry Scarano June 25.
One other arrest has already been made in the case.
Jeffrey T. Hampshire, 29, was a passenger in Carroll’s car the night of the incident, according to police. Hampshire is being held in the county jail, charged with violation of probation and evidence tampering for allegedly helping Carroll to remove and hide part of the windshield of his car.
Hampshire, who lives in the same trailer park as Carroll, was acquitted of murder 10 years ago and convicted of burglary twice since then.
He was acquitted at trial of three counts of second-degree murder in the February 2000 strangulation of Colonie resident Ruth Witter, the step-great-grandmother of his then-girlfriend, Katherine Seeber.
Around the same time, he broke into a Wilton home and stole some of the owner’s jewelry. Hampshire served more than four years in state prison for that crime.
A year after his release, he was caught trying to break into the Weathervane Restaurant through a roof vent in 2007. Hampshire was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison on a felony attempted burglary charge and was paroled in July from that sentence.
Carroll arrived at court in jail garb, handcuffs and shackles. He wiped away tears as he stood before the judge.
After the plea, Rossley’s mother, Maureen Rossley, described her son as an avid sportsman and hockey fan.
“No one should be run down in their own hometown of Saratoga,” she said.
Uncles, brothers, a sister and friends of Rossley joined his parents in the courtroom and lobby outside, displaying photos of the dead man and speaking of his plans to return to college and seek a degree in teaching.
“He loved life and found joy in everything,” Rossley’s mother said.