MALONE — A Chateaugay man will spend 1½ years in state prison for trying to force his wife’s car off the Chateaugay Bridge, which has an 11-story drop.

Michael J. Garrow, 42, of 7762 U.S. Route 11 clenched his jaw but said nothing when Franklin County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. ignored his request for probation to run his 200-head dairy farm.

Garrow was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 1½ to 4½ years in state prison for two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment after he was found guilty in August following four hours of jury deliberations.

The judge said during Monday’s court appearance that he had presided over the trial, heard the witness testimony and listened to Garrow himself on the stand.

“It was terrifying,” Main said. “I can’t begin to imagine the horror the two victims of your conduct experienced as your Silverado pickup truck impacted their vehicle.

“I suspect everyone in this room has traveled that bridge and knows the depth of the chasm it transverses and that motor-vehicle traffic is protected only by a low railing and knows what can happen to any vehicle that might be forced over that railing.

“You may not want to go to jail, but it’s exactly where you’re going.”

Main said Garrow acted out of “malice and revenge” when he rammed his car into a vehicle carrying his wife and a female friend. The judge said it was made it clear when Garrow was convicted that he would likely need someone to take over the operation of his farm.

“You had plenty of time to prepare, and your failure to do that was at your own peril,” Main said.

Before the judge’s ruling, Garrow and his defense attorney, Peter Dumas, each asked Main to give a lighter sentence since the welfare of the cows was important.

“I’m really sorry for what happened,” Garrow said, saying he got involved with the wrong circle of people.

“I want to feed my cows and work my farm. That’s all I want to do,” he said, adding that he contributes to the local economy by being a businessman.

“It’s my life and my pride and joy.”

Dumas said his client has a farm hand to help him, but that person is not experienced enough to ensure the cows will be properly looked after medically or rotated within the barn correctly.

The attorney said that if the cows don’t get proper care, his client would likely be back in court facing 200 counts of animal cruelty.

But Main denied the requests, saying Garrow created so much terror for the victims “that no amount of money could compensate.”

He was ordered to pay $10,000 in fines, a court fee of $300 and a crime-victim fee of $35, along with providing a sample of his DNA and paying the $50 registration fee.

Garrow was also expected to be sentenced Monday in an unrelated case on one count of fifth-degree arson for burning down a manufactured home. But there was a discrepancy in the amount of restitution to be paid, so that case was postponed to Monday, Nov. 2.



E-mail Denise A. Raymo at:

draymo@pressrepublican.com

Recommended for you