PLATTSBURGH -- Early Oct. 8, 2006, Matthew Mlecsko was walking up Main Street in Keeseville when he suddenly heard loud voices and saw his son arguing with another man.

"I asked my son what was going on," Mlecsko said during the first day of Robert Mitchell Jr.'s trial in connection with the fatal accident that left his son, Shane, critically injured and killed 25-year-old Keith Galarneau of Keeseville.

Within minutes, the argument appeared to be over and the Mlecskos continued walking home from Brookie's Pub on Front Street, where they had gone for drinks together after spending the evening in Lake Placid.

Before long, as Mlecsko trudged up the steep Main Street incline with his wife, Michelle, he heard more loud voices and turned to see his son arguing with Galarneau again.

Minutes later, he saw Galarneau sprinting up the road and turned to see his son grasping the side of his head "like he'd been hit."

"(Galarneau) took off and Shane started chasing him," later testified Shane's fiancee, Treena Smith, who was with the Mlecskos at the time of the accident.

As the men continued yelling, they ran at one another, colliding in the intersection of Main and Ausable streets.

As Mlecsko watched his son fall to the ground wrestling, he suddenly heard a car begin to accelerate up the hill.

With overhead lights illuminating the street, Mlecsko watched the older white Cadillac get closer to where the two men were wrestling in the northbound lane.

"I was thinking he was going to hit the brakes any minute. He never did. He just ran over the both of them," said the Michigan resident, who had flown to New York last October to visit his three children.

Father Describes aftermath

During testimony he added that the driver did not hit the brakes until "after he hit the two boys."

As Mlecsko frantically ran up the road, he watched the car abruptly stop on the side of the road.

"I ran up to the first body. It was my son Shane. He was unresponsive. He was just moaning," he told Assistant District Attorney Timothy Blatchley before Judge Kevin Ryan in Clinton County Court.

After grabbing his son by the ankles, pulling him to the side of the road, he raced to check on Galarneau, as Mitchell jumped from the car hysterical and emotional.

"He was up there crying and screaming. He said Oh my God, oh my God, what have I done,'" said Mlecsko, who was the third prosecution witness to take the stand Wednesday morning.

He later acknowledged under cross examination that Mitchell indicated he "never saw them" in the road.

"I went up to the Galarneau boy and checked his pulse. He was dead," he added as he and Galarneau's family broke into tears. "I told (Mitchell) to go and stand by the body."

"He was still extremely upset. He started walking back to his car, saying, I can't take this, I need to get out of here.'"

Mlecsko testified that he then rushed to the car, which was still running, and grabbed Mitchell as he began to sit down, taking the keys from the ignition.

Moments later, emergency personnel arrived.

Additional witnesses

Trooper Jason Dion soon escorted a "very distraught" Mitchell to the nearby Keeseville barracks to begin interviewing him about the crash and administer a four-part field sobriety test, which he subsequently failed, Dion testified Wednesday.

Before Mlecsko took the stand, District Attorney Andrew Wylie called Brookie's Pub owner, Carrie Brown, to testify about serving both Mitchell and Galarneau drinks before they left together around 11 p.m.

Her fiance, John "Jay" Champine, also testified about serving the Mlecskos drinks when he began bartending around midnight.

Keeseville resident Jeremy Deleo testified about leaving Brookie's Pub with Mitchell and Galarneau, adding that he brought them back to Front Street around midnight.

Shane Mlecsko, who spent a month at Fletcher Allen Health Care with serious injuries after the crash, also took the stand Wednesday, but could not recall what happened after he left the pub.

During cross examinations, Mitchell's attorney, Keith Bruno, delved into the witnesses' testimony, their statements to police and subsequent grand jury testimony.

He pointed out that Mitchell was never ticketed for reckless driving, failure to keep right or speeding and later prompted testimony that Mitchell fully cooperated with police.

Additional prosecution witnesses will testify today after the trial resumes at 9:30 a.m.

avanvalkenburg@pressrepublican.com

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