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Prison time for driver who hit two outside restaurant

Prison time for driver who hit two outside restaurant

Woman and another person were trying to keep man from driving drunk when he hit them.
Prison time for driver who hit two outside restaurant
Photographer: Shutterstock

BALLSTON SPA -- A Schenectady motorist was sentenced to state prison Monday for striking a woman who tried to stop him from driving drunk, according to the Saratoga County District Attorney's Office.

Christopher W. Jones, 57, of Marie Street, pleaded guilty in February to one count of second-degree vehicular assault, a felony, related to the June incident at the Ravenswood Pub in Clifton Park.

Judge James A. Murphy III sentenced him Monday 1 to 3 years in state prison. Jones was also ordered to pay restitution.

He struck and seriously injured 74-year-old Stephanie Van Auken as he left the Ravenswood on June 3. Van Auken and another person were attempting  to stop Jones from driving away intoxicated. His vehicle hit both people, injuring Van Auken seriously. Jones then drove home, where he was arrested a short time later.

Van Auken suffered two fractured hips, a fractured ankle, a fractured foot and torn tendons and ligaments in her right knee. 

Van Auken's son Scott Schreifels has previously said she was doing much better and was happy for support shown by the community. Van Auken previously owned Mama's Family Restaurant and Schreifels owns the Ravenswood. To many, Van Auken is known as "Mama." 

"The defendant's choice to drive drunk from the Ravenswood Pub set in motion a series of events that cannot be changed," Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said in a prepared statement. "The victim, a previously healthy, vibrant woman who attempted to stop the defendant from harming others, was herself injured by the defendant's decision to drink and drive. She sustained serious physical injuries that have a lasting impact on her life. Her rehabilitation efforts demonstrate her inner strength and resilience. We trust this sentence provides her some measure of justice for the irreparable harm caused by the defendant's conduct."

The state police investigated the incident, and Assistant District Attorney Patrick J. Campion prosecuted the case. 

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