January 16, 2013

Rockland County man sentenced for leaving fatal crash


---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — A Rockland County man who kept driving after a fatal crash on the Adirondack Northway has been sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

Joseph F. Bohunicky Jr., 35, of West Nyack appeared before Judge Richard Meyer in Essex County Court recently after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.

Bohunicky was northbound on I-87 in the Town of Schroon on Nov. 20, 2011, when his car crashed into the back of a 2000 Geo Prism driven by Thomas LaFountain, 59, of Mechanicville. His sister, Mary J. Morrissey, 65, also of Mechanicville, was a front-seat passenger in the car; she died of blunt-force trauma after the vehicle went out of control and left the roadway, slamming into guardrails and an embankment.

LaFountain and Morrissey had been on their way to visit relatives in AuSable Forks.

Police said Bohunicky struck the LaFountain auto with such force that part of the front license-plate number was stamped in the rear bumper of the Prism. The partial number was used the next day when police found the 2001 Toyota Camry on the Palisades Parkway in Rockland County.

Police said Bohunicky, who was arrested in July 2012, originally claimed he had hit a deer with the car.


Bohunicky was indicted by an Essex County grand jury for felony leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and the violation of following too closely. 

He pleaded guilty in October 2012 to the felony count.

Besides the jail time imposed by Meyer, Bohunicky must pay $7,517 in restitution to the victim’s family, was fined $2,000, and had his driver’s license revoked. He must also give a DNA sample and pay a crime victim’s fee.

Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague said in a statement that Bohunicky fled without trying to help the victims of a crash he caused.

“There are no words that can express the loss that this family has endured by the senseless actions of this individual who selfishly chose to leave the scene and not report or seek help for the victims in the car.”

Sprague said she believed state prison was the only option for Bohunicky, although the victim’s family asked for leniency for him.

Bohunicky, who was sentenced Jan. 11, was represented by Essex County Public Defender Brandon Boutelle.

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