Driver acquitted of felony in fatal Charlton crash
Conviction on misdemeanors could bring just one year in jail
BALLSTON SPA A Saratoga County jury Tuesday evening acquitted a Washington County man of manslaughter charges stemming from a fatal head-on collision last year in Charlton, but found him guilty of driving while on drugs.
Marcus R. Young, 26, of Granville, was cleared of the most serious charges against him, second-degree manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, felonies that could have sent him to prison for up to 25 years. The crash on Jan. 20, 2013, on Route 67 caused the death of Glenn L. Smith, 50, of West Charlton.
After deliberating since Monday afternoon, the jury around 6 p.m. Tuesday found Young guilty of the misdemeanor charges against him: driving while ability impaired by drugs; possession of heroin; driving with ability impaired by a combination of drugs; and unlawful possession of marijuana and fireworks.
He faces a maximum of one year in jail on those charges. His sentencing date wasn’t immediately available.
Young was accused of having marijuana, morphine and oxycodone in his system at the time his pickup truck crossed lanes while westbound on a straightaway and hit Smith’s vehicle. His trial before Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry Scarano has been under way for the past two weeks.
Defense attorney William Montgomery of Glens Falls said Young’s initial explanation to police was that he was distracted while plugging in a cellphone charger. Montgomery said during closing arguments Monday that that was a truthful explanation of what happened.
He said state police decided they wanted a conviction and ignored evidence that Young wasn’t impaired by the drugs in his system, based on his cooperative behavior after the crash.
Prosecutors, however, contended Young was severely impaired by drugs when he collided with Smith’s vehicle, even as Smith braked and tried to pull to the shoulder of the road.
“We knew the case was very difficult because from the beginning the defendant claimed he was reaching for something in the car that caused him to cross the road,” District Attorney James A. Murphy III said after the verdict. “We thought the heroin in his blood was a contributing factor.”
The accident took place while Young was westbound on Route 67 near Division Street and Smith was eastbound.