Andes woman faces DWI charges in accident that left man dead
By Brian Sweeney
A 45-year-old Andes woman faces two driving while intoxicated charges stemming from a fatal accident last December, but was not indicted for vehicular manslaughter.
Christine Arnao pleaded innocent last Thursday to charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI stemming from the accident in which Jon J. Church, 31, of Wells Bridge was killed.
Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup had asked a grand jury to consider charges of first-degree vehicular manslaughter and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, in addition to the DWI charges. But the Grand Jury did not issue an indictment on either manslaughter charge.
Arnao is scheduled to go to trial on the DWI charges on October 13. Police said that the charge of aggravated DWI stemmed from Arnao having a blood-alcohol reading of .18 or above.
Church was killed on the night of Dec. 13, 2008 after he wrecked his vehicle on Route 28 in the Town of Andes.
Police said that Church was driving south, just outside the hamlet of Andes, when he veered off the shoulder and his vehicle wound up in a ditch. Because he could not open the door of his vehicle, Church crawled through the window and wound up on Route 28, where he reportedly passed out.
Another passing vehicle had stopped to check on Church after seeing his accident. Arnao is reported to have swerved to miss the second vehicle, striking Church who was lying in the road.
Arnao stopped after hitting Church and then a vehicle operated by 21-year-old Jermaine Campbell of Kingston also hit the victim, but did not stop.
After hearing about the accident the following day, Campbell notified state police that he was driving the vehicle that left the scene. Campbell told investigators that he felt his car struck something, but thought it was a deer that had been hit by one of the other cars.
The Grand Jury was asked to consider a charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident against Campbell, but did not indict him.