DA Hoovler Announces Guilty Plea in Fatal Automobile Collision

October 5, 2017

Kingston Man Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree for Killing 37 Year Old Passenger While Driving Intoxicated and Under the Influence of Marijuana

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Monday October 2, 2017, James Black, 29, of Kingston, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, in connection with the death of a 37 year old man who had been a passenger in Black’s pick-up truck on December 22, 2016. At the time Black pleaded guilty, he admitted that he had been driving his pick-up truck on Quaker Street in the Town of Newburgh, at approximately 1:46 pm, when the truck left the roadway and collided into a tree, killing his passenger. It is alleged that Black admitted speeding being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. The indictment alleged that his blood alcohol content was .19 per centum by weight of alcohol. Black, who also suffered injuries in the collision, was not immediately arrested, and the collision was investigated by the Town of Newburgh Police Department and an Orange County Grand Jury. Under the terms of the plea agreement placed upon the record at the time of Black’s guilty plea he faces up to three and one-third to ten years in state prison when he is sentenced on November 27, 2017.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Town of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation of the case and Black’s apprehension.

“There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Deaths caused by intoxicated drivers are as tragic as they are preventable. Those who drive while intoxicated, place the public, and themselves, at risk of death and other serious harm, and must be dealt with severely. I urge all who are tempted to drive in that condition to consider the consequences; not only of prison, but of knowing that you were solely responsible for the death of an innocent person, or a loved one. I thank the Town of Newburgh Police Department for their professionalism in handling this case and particularly for their working closely with my office in this investigation.”

This case is being prosecuted by Chief Trial Assistant District Attorney John Geidel.

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.