Guilty Plea in Serious Warwick DWI Case

January 27, 2024

District Attorney Hoovler: Guilty Plea in Warwick DWI Case That Injured Mayor

Matthew Labor Pled Guilty to Felony DWI

Defendant Faces up to 1-3 Years in Prison

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Friday, January 12, 2024, Matthew Labar, 42, of Goshen, pled guilty in Orange County Court to Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol (DWI) as a felony.  Under the plea agreement announced on the record at the time that Labar pled guilty, he will face up to one (1) to three(3) years in prison when he is sentenced on April 12, 2024.

As alleged in documents filed and statements made in court, on July 29, 2023 at approximately 4:15 pm, Labar was seen stumbling on Main Street in Warwick.  The Village of Warwick Mayor, Michael Newhard, saw Labar and attempted to help him.  When Labar got into his vehicle, the Mayor took his keys.  Labar then used a spare set of keys, started the vehicle and started to drive while the Mayor was hanging out of the window.  Labar proceeded to strike numerous parked cars in the parking lot where he was driving.  A passing United States Park Police officer observed what was happening and subdued Labar until Warwick Police officers could respond and take Labar into custody.  A subsequent chemical test revealed that Labar’s blood alcohol content was 0.33%, over four (4) times the legal limit.  Mayor Newhard suffered minor injuries as a result.

“I commend Mayor Newhard for his selfless and quick-thinking actions that likely prevented what could have been a terrible tragedy,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Drunk drivers put us all at risk through their careless decisions.  Incidents such as this one are not accidents, they are serious crimes and perpetrators need to be held accountable.  I hope that this case serves as a warning to those inclined to make the same senseless choice made by the defendant in this case.  My Office will continue to prioritize the prosecution of drunk and drugged drivers, particularly repeated offenders.”

“Mayor Newhard put his personal safety aside to try and stop someone who was clearly impaired from driving that afternoon,” said Town of Warwick Police Chief John Rader.  “We appreciate his efforts as well as the efforts to prosecute this case.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District AttorneyNicholas Mangold. 

This 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.