DA Hoovler and Town of Newburgh Police Chief Campbell Announce Manslaughter Charge Related to Police Chase
Newark Man Charged with Manslaughter in Connection with Fatal Crash
Defendant Crashes Van Killing Passenger While Fleeing from Police
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Town of Newburgh Police Chief Bruce Campbell announced on Monday, December 7, 2020, that Luis Colon, 27, of Newark, was arraigned before Town of Newburgh Judge Jude Martini on charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Unlawfully Fleeing A Police Officer in the First Degree, for an incident which occurred on December 6, 2020, at approximately 1:34 a.m., at the intersection of South Robinson Avenue and South Williams Street in the City of Newburgh. It is alleged that Colon had been driving a van at a high rate of speed, ignoring lane markings and traffic devices in an attempt to flee pursuing Town of Newburgh Police Officers. The van crashed, killing one of the passengers and injuring Colon and a second passenger. Colon and the second passenger were hospitalized.
On December 6, 2020, at approximately 1:20 a.m., Town of Newburgh police officers were dispatched to a call of a burglary in progress at “Big Boyz Toys,” a dealership which sell ATVs, dirt bikes and other motorsports vehicles on Route 9W in the Town of Newburgh. When police tried to block an Econoline van that was in the parking lot from leaving, the van evaded the police, who pursued the vehicle into the City of Newburgh. The felony complaint charging Colon alleges that at times he was driving the van at speeds that exceeded ninety miles per hour, which was over twenty-five miles per hour above the speed limit, and that Colon disobeyed traffic control devices, including a red traffic light at the intersection of South Robinson Avenue and South Williams Street in the City of Newburgh. While going through that intersection the van being driven by Colon struck another vehicle, then struck several parked vehicles before hitting a utility pole, which caused Colon’s vehicle to roll.
During the course of the police chase on State Route 9W, a passenger in the van opened the back door of the van and threw the stolen dirt bikes and other vehicles out of the van in an apparent attempt to slow the pursuing police cars.
Town of Newburgh Police recovered many of the discarded dirt bikes from Route 9W. The Town of Newburgh Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are requesting that any member of the public who finds evidence of the crime, including what appears to be pieces from motorsports vehicles on Route 9W, or has video of any portion of the pursuit to please contact the Town of Newburgh Police Department at (845) 564-1100.
Bail was set for Colon in the amount of $250,000 cash, or $500,000 fully secured bond, or $750,000 partially secured bond. Colon is next scheduled to appear in City of Newburgh Court on December 8, 2020. The matter will be presented to an Orange County grand jury. Additional charges are expected to be filed against Colon and a second individual.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Town of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation and the arrest of Colon. District Attorney Hoovler also thanked the New York State Police and the City of Newburgh Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief Trial Assistant District Attorney Jason Rosenwasser.
“Fleeing from police at a high rate of speed while ignoring traffic devices needlessly places police, other motorists, as well as occupants of the fleeing vehicle in danger of death or serious physical injury,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Under the recent bail reform statutes bail cannot be set for instances of commercial burglaries regardless of the dollar amount of the stolen property. The fleeing driver’s actions in this case were as needless as they were tragic. My office will seek severe punishment for those who recklessly cause death or place others in danger.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.