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Hogansburg man placed on probation for striking woman walking in roadway

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MASSENA - A Hogansburg man charged with striking and injuring a female walking on the Rooseveltown Road in the early morning hours of Aug. 11 has been fined and placed on probation for three years after pleading guilty to a reduced count in a plea bargain agreement with the district attorney’s office.

Massena Town Justice James M. Crandall fined Christopher M. Terrance, 31, of 121 McGee Road, Hogansburg, $150 for an attempted leaving the scene of a serious injury accident conviction and a $1,000 fine and $400 surcharge for the driving while intoxicated conviction. His operating privileges were revoked for six months, and he was placed under probation supervision for three years.

Terrance, speaking prior to sentencing, said he had pleaded guilty to the attempted leaving the scene count because it was required by prosecutors as part of the plea bargain offer. “But I had no intention to leave the scene,” he stressed.

Defense attorney Joseph T. Welch said his client had options and accepting the plea bargain offer was the most palatable.

“He had two choices, and they were both lousy choices to make. There was no indication he was driving wildly, speeding, driving recklessly. This was an unfortunate incident for all involved,” he told the court.

Speaking after court, Mr. Welch said his client was likely in a state of shock in the initial moments after the accident.

“It happened so fast. He doesn’t stop but he was probably in a state of shock, and he wants to avoid a confrontation with the party of young adults that are on the scene. He drove down the road to the next right-hand turn, probably three-quarters of a mile, stopped and telephoned his mother,” according to the defense attorney.

“He took the proper steps to make sure the victim got help and turned himself in at the tribal police department and gave a full accounting of what had happened,” Mr. Welch added.

He had urged the court to grant his client a conditional discharge rather than place him under probation supervision.

But Mr. Crandall said he felt probation was more appropriate.

“This gentleman, it certainly appears, is a person who will be in compliance with probation, and I will receive paperwork from probation at some point to terminate his supervision early,” he predicted.

“I’m sticking with probation because a conditional discharge has no supervision,” the town justice added.

Massena-based state police had charged Terrance with DWI and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Troopers said Terrance was driving west on Rooseveltown Road when he struck a pedestrian, Marie Lohns, 90 E. Hatfield St., Massena, who suffered a broken right leg and was taken by helicopter to the Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vt.

Ms. Lohns, then 18, was charged with disorderly conduct - obstructing traffic - following an investigation into the accident. She was reportedly walking near the center of the roadway when she was struck by Terrance in the early morning hours of Aug. 11.

Troopers said Terrance left the scene and continued to drop off his friend Randa M. Martin, 49 County Route 45, Rooseveltown, where he then shut off the car and called his mother, Louise C. Jacobs, 121 McGee Road, Hogansburg.

Terrance’s blood alcohol content was 0.13 percent.

Terrance, in the statement he provided state police, said he had hosted an after-hours party at his residence and had consumed approximately five glasses of wine on a night that had started at a cancer awareness biker rally.

He said he was taking Ms. Martin home and was near the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club when she alerted him there were some kids on the side of the road.

“I remember looking to my right just after she said that and then heard a bang noise. I tried to swerve hard left. It was dark, and I never saw any of the kids. After I heard the noise, I panicked. I knew I hit something from the feel of it after I swerved,” he admitted in the statement he signed for police, noting he took Ms. Martin to her residence, then briefly discussed the situation and she recommended he call his mother.

Ms. Martin told police it had been a mellow evening, and Terrance seemed fine when he offered to drive her home. She told troopers they drove past the first group of young adults and then struck a female who was walking in their lane of traffic.

“She was right in front of the headlights,” Ms. Martin told police, noting the sound she heard led her to believe they had only brushed the female.

Kaycee Sunday, 20, in her statement to troopers, said she and Ms. Lohns were walking toward the reservation in the oncoming traffic lane trying to get a ride to Massena.

“Marie was walking in the middle of the road, trying to flag down cars,” she said.

Terrance’s mother reportedly drove immediately to the accident scene, assisted the victim of the accident and then went and picked her son up and took him to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police station to report the accident.

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