John S. Phillips Jr., 26, of 284 Halsey Road, Pulaski, was identified late Thursday night by Watertown police as the hit-and-run driver who left two motorcycle riders injured and on the pavement at Washington and Clinton streets.
The bikers, Charles E. Nuffer, 46, and his wife, Joy E. Nuffer, 47, both of 21471 County Route 69, Rodman, suffered head and back injuries, and were taken by Guilfoyle ambulances to Samaritan Medical Center.
Mr. Phillips was detained to await arraignment Friday morning in City Court on charges of driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, and following too close. Police said that following his arrest at 11:05 p.m., approximately 87 minutes after the accident, Mr. Phillips had a breath test reading of 0.13 percent blood alcohol content. Under state law, 0.08 percent constitutes intoxication.
Police said Mr. Nuffer, with his wife as passenger, was northbound on Washington Street when he stopped for a red traffic light at Clinton Street. Witnesses described for police a dark blue Mitsubishi Eclipse that struck the rear of the motorcycle, and then drove away. Mr. Nuffer was left pinned beneath his bike in the northbound lane, partially into the intersection. His wife, eventually able to sit up, was off to the side.
The witnesses also provided a license number for the getaway car, and police agencies were alerted that the motorist was likely headed to Pulaski. An Oswego County sheriff’s deputy went to Mr. Phillips’ residence, and was told that he could be found at 518 Stone St. in Watertown. That is where city police found him.
Watertown police said a man and a woman riding a motorcycle were struck from behind and injured by a dark blue Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible, occupied by two men, which then drove away.
Police said the victims were conscious at the scene, with the man lying beneath the motorcycle.
The two were taken by Guilfoyle Ambulance to Samaritan Medical Center.