Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Monday, December 5, 2016, Christopher Peloso, 29, of Campbell Hall, was convicted after a bench trial before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill of Attempted Aggravated Assault Upon a Police Officer or a Peace Officer, Assault in the Second Degree (4 Counts), Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree (8 Counts), Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree (3 Counts), Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under The Influence of Alcohol (2 Counts), Unlawful Fleeing of a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree, Reckless Driving, Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, and Resisting Arrest. Peloso faces up to twenty years in state prison on the charge of Attempted Aggravated Assault upon a Police Officer or a Peace Officer when he is sentenced on January 20, 2016.
Prosecutors argued that on December 21, 2014, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Peloso was driving in a modified Ford pick-up truck when he led police on a high speed chase after police attempted to pull him over for a traffic infraction. The chase ended on Route 747 after Peloso intentionally rammed three of the police cars and continued to try to escape apprehension. During the chase, Peloso’s vehicle also hit another civilian’s vehicle, severely damaging it. Fortunately the two injured occupants of that vehicle escaped without suffering more serious injuries. Two police officers were injured in the incident. One Town of Newburgh Police Officer suffered injuries which ended his career as a police officer. A chemical test of Peloso’s breath revealed that he had.08 percent by weight of alcohol in his blood.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Town of Newburgh Police Department for their assistance in the arrest and investigation of the case.
“Not only were two police officers injured as a result of this defendant’s futile attempt to escape being arrested, but two civilian motorists were also injured,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “This defendant’s intentional actions ended one police officer’s career and endangered the lives of many others. The evidence adduced at the trial more than supported the Court’s determination that this defendant was guilty of all charges in the indictment. The failure to comply with lawful commands of the police, including commands to pull over to the side of the road as directed, endangers not only the offender and the police, but innocent civilians as well. My office will be recommending a lengthy state prison sentence when this defendant is sentenced.”
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Assistant District Attorney David Curtin who prosecuted the case.
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.