Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen reports that Troy D. Cassell, Jr. (DOB: 1/31/1983), of Schuylerville, New York was sentenced on November 3, 2022 to the maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in a state correctional facility after a Saratoga County Jury convicted him of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with a Child as an “E” Felony, in violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192(2-a)(b) [often referred to as “Leandra’s Law”]; Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs as a misdemeanor, in violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192(4); Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree as a misdemeanor, in violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 511(1)(a); and Endangering the Welfare of a Child as a misdemeanor, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 260.10. The sentence comes after a week-long jury trial in August, 2022 before Saratoga County Court Judge Hon. James A. Murphy, III.
The convictions resulted from an arrest following a motor vehicle crash which occurred back on September 12, 2021. On that date, at approximately 9:53 pm, Defendant Cassell, Jr. was operating a white Hyundai Tucson while his license was suspended. A six-year-old child was in the back seat. Cassell Jr. lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a ditch on Route 29 near Schuyler Farms in the Town of Saratoga. Shortly after the crash, a member of the New York State Police located the defendant’s vehicle flipped over in the ditch. Defendant Cassell, Jr. was interviewed at the scene by police at which time he exhibited significant signs of impairment by a narcotic drug. Cassell Jr. failed several Standardized Field Sobriety tests and was taken into custody. The defendant was then transported to the state police barracks in the Town of Malta where a Drug Recognition Expert conducted a drug influence evaluation. The drug recognition expert determined that the defendant was under the influence of a narcotic drug and was unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. The child victim was treated by Cambridge Valley EMS and released to relatives on scene.
At sentencing, Helen Kenyon read a victim impact statement detailing the trauma faced by the child victim and how it has affected her family. She reminded the defendant and the Court that no adult should ever put a child in harm’s way by willingly choosing to drive while impaired by any substance. She stated, “Our family is thankful that the defendant was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The decision to drive under the influence is a choice that can have tragic consequences.”
Judge Murphy admonished the defendant for placing the child in harm’s way and continuing to deny responsibility even after the jury verdict and extolling that the maximum sentence allowed under the law was still not enough for his conduct.
District Attorney Heggen stated “We are pleased the jury recognized and held the defendant accountable for the grave danger he placed the child victim in as a result of his choice to operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to apprehend and prosecute to the fullest extent the law allows those who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Our thoughts are with the child victim and her family as they continue to recover from the emotional harm caused by the defendant’s actions.
Heggen praised the work of New York State Trooper Daniel Beaudoin and Drug Recognition Expert, New York State Police Sergeant Michael Tromblee.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Shawn Lescault, assisted by Assistant District Attorneys Ryan Murphy and Kayla Potter.