Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen reports that Michael R. Brownell of Northumberland (d.o.b.4/8/70) was sentenced by Saratoga County Court Judge James A. Murphy, III to an indeterminate term of incarceration in a state correctional facility, the minimum of which is three (3) years and the maximum is nine (9) years for his plea to the top count of the Indictment filed by a Saratoga County Grand Jury of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, in violation of Penal Law Section 120.04-a(3), a “Class C” felony.

Defendant Brownell was involved 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 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 motorcycle 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. However, 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.

The victim of the defendant’s crash provided a chilling Victim Impact Statement, which provided in part:

            “Because of the hit and run accident where I was left for dead by Michael Brownell I have lost full use of my left leg that now includes extensive internal hardware….I remember laying on my back in the field where I was thrown after the collision in excruciating pain. At first I feared paralysis because I couldn’t move, but after some time I could lift the bloody visor on my helmet.  When assistance finally came to my aid it was clear that my left leg was destroyed.  I will never forget the depth of pain experienced as the paramedics moved me onto a back board.  In short this was the start of my new journey into months of extreme pain that still continues today.  My life will be forever changed as a result of this accident….To this day I cannot fathom how someone leaves another person for dead after an accident and tries to cover their tracks with lies and misinformation.”

District Attorney Heggen noted “The conviction and sentence in this case is the result of a collaborative effort from the beginning of the investigation between the Sheriff’s Office and the prosecutors in my office. 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 defendant and putting the pieces together to secure a conviction.”  

District Attorney 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. I hope that this conviction 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 Senior 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.