September 7, 2013

Another grand jury to hear Trombly case


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Ronald R. Trombly’s manslaughter case will be heard by another grand jury before the end of the year.

Judge Kevin Ryan issued the order on Friday, approving Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie’s Aug. 21 application to resubmit the charges in the case, according to a news release from the DA’s Office.

“Due to the nature of this matter, I will not be making any additional comments on the proceeding until after the matter has been submitted to the grand jury,” Wylie said in an email.


On Aug. 6, a grand jury chose to not indict Trombly, 85, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter and other charges after, on May 20, the car he was driving allegedly hit Ashley Poissant, 27, as she was jogging along Perry Mills Road in Champlain with three others.

Another grand jury will hear the case for Trombly’s indictment in the final term of the year, which runs from Sept. 17 to Dec. 31, according to the DA’s Office.

New York State Criminal Procedure Law section 190.75 allows a second grand-jury deliberation on the case.

It may be heard only twice, however, according to the law.

Poissant died at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington the day after the crash; an autopsy determined the cause was a skull-fracture brain injury due to blunt force impact.

Among the other felony charges that will again be considered in Trombly’s case are second-degree vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

The misdemeanor charges to be brought again are third-degree assault and two counts of driving while intoxicated. Two counts of failure to use due care to avoid a pedestrian will also be given to the new grand jury for consideration.


The DA’s Office released new information on Friday about the fatal incident, saying it happened after Trombly left Patriot’s Pub in the Village of Champlain.

State Police took him into custody following the accident, and a blood sample that was submitted for chemical analysis at the New York Forensic Science Laboratory in Albany returned a blood-alcohol level of .12. The legal limit in New York state is .08.

State Police previously said Trombly was driving home, alone, when he hit Poissant with his car.

Police said he told them he tried but was unable to avoid doing so.

Trombly did not testify before the first grand jury per his attorney, Stanley Cohen of New York City, Wylie previously said.


Poissant’s family and friends said they have a new sense of hope that justice will prevail.

The young woman’s friend Angela Bechard, 33, of Champlain was jogging with her at the time of the crash and testified in the first grand-jury proceeding.

Bechard said State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Investigator Michael Hoff, who is assigned to the case, called her Friday afternoon to tell her the judge’s decision.

“I feel happy that (the case) is getting a second chance to go in front of another new grand jury,” she told the Press-Republican in a phone interview.

“It should have went through the first time, but it is what it is.”

Bechard will have to testify again, she said, and while it may be difficult emotionally for her, she said she will do whatever it takes to get justice for her friend.


Karen Poissant, the mother of Ashley’s husband, Matthew Poissant, was overjoyed when her son told her that another grand jury will hear the case.

“I am ecstatic right now,” Karen said Friday afternoon. “I want to thank Judge Ryan for looking at it again.”

She said Matthew seemed happy when she heard from him.

“He said, ‘Oh my God, there’s this hope, Mom.”

Ashley’s friend Jane Favreau says she is enraged that Trombly continues to live as a free man.

“I just miss her. It’s very hard.”

She was also surprised and elated when she heard there is a possibility Trombly could be indicted.

“I’m excited,” Favreau said. “At first I was shocked … because I was losing faith on it.

“I guess was worth the wait.”


Karen said her family won’t tell Ashley’s three sons — Logan, 8, Ethan, 6, and Owen, 5 — about the new development until the second grand jury has made its decision.

Their mother’s death is still fresh in their minds, Karen said.

For a school notebook project, Logan chose to make the cover a photo of his mother, she said.

Owen started kindergarten on Wednesday.

Karen said that when she dropped him off, she could tell he wished his mother was there with him.

“You could tell in his little eyes he wanted his mom.”

Karen expressed her thanks to her family, friends and the community for their support and to the creator of the Facebook page Justice for Ashley.

“It’s just reached thousands of people.”


“We’re happy,” Karen said. “It just seems like our hopes are up. I just want to thank everyone for being there for us. Keep on praying.”

Favreau said she is hopeful the second grand jury will do what she believes is the right thing.

“I hope this time it’s going to definitely go through, and it’s not going to be what it was before,” she said.

“Her family needs this, she (Ashley) needs this, and her kids need closure in their lives.”

Contact information for Trombly could not be found in order to ask him for comment.

Email Felicia Krieg:fkrieg@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg