Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen announced today that Michael R. Brownell of Northumberland (DOB 4/8/70) pled guilty in Saratoga County Court before Judge James A. Murphy, III to the top count of Indictment H-026-2022V, Aggravated Vehicular Assault, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 120.04-a(3), a class C felony,

Brownell admitted his involvement in a hit-and-run crash in the area of Route 32 and Rugg Road in the Town of Town of Northumberland, Saratoga County on September 24, 2021. The defendant admitted he was driving recklessly and while intoxicated at the time of the crash.  Brownell, who was intoxicated at the time, failed to stop at a stop sign, lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, and struck a motorcyclist head-on. Brownell also nearly struck two other motorcycles. The motorcycle operator was ejected from his motorcycle, landing in a drainage ditch on the shoulder of the roadway.  The victim suffered traumatic injuries and was transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital for treatment by Wilton EMS with the assistance of the Schuylerville Fire Department.

Brownell did not stop to help or call for assistance; instead, he fled the scene of the crash at a high rate of speed. Despite heavy front-end damage and his vehicle missing its front wheel, Brownell continued to flee. Brownell later concealed his vehicle behind an abandoned farmhouse several miles from the crash scene. With the help of a civilian witness, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Deputies apprehended Brownell in a remote area near Goff Road in the Town of Northumberland. Further investigation revealed that Brownell was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

District Attorney Heggen noted that “my office worked closely with the Sheriff’s Department from the beginning of the investigation. I commend the good work of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit, as well as Sheriff’s Deputies, for swiftly locating the vehicle involved and the person involved, and then putting the pieces back together to secure a conviction.”  

D.A. Heggen also noted “defendant’s choice to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated and in a reckless manner, resulted in life-altering injuries to an innocent victim. We can only hope that this resolution brings some closure to the victim and his family, and that it sends a strong message that drunk drivers causing injury on our Saratoga County roadways will be prosecuted for their decision to get behind the wheel and will be met with significant consequences.”

The case was investigated by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Shawn M. Lescault of the Vehicular Crimes Unit with the assistance of DA Investigator Jack Barney and Crime Victim Specialist Mollie Benware.

Brownell was remanded to the Saratoga County Jail pending his sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for May 13, 2022, where it is expected that Brownell will receive an indeterminate sentence of 3-9 years in a state correctional facility.