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Home > Topics > Vehicle Crashes
January 23, 2014

DWI: NY EMS chief pleads guilty after hitting pedestrian with truck

He will be sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation after hitting a pedestrian with a pickup truck with a snowplow blade attached

Bob Gardinier
Times Union

NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. — The chief of the North Greenbush Ambulance Association admitted Tuesday that he was drunk when he hit and seriously injured a man on Route 4 almost a year ago.

Benjamin Bornhorst, 28, appeared before Rensselaer County Judge Debra Young and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident, a felony. He will be sentenced next month to a year in jail and five years of probation. Bornhorst began serving his sentence on Tuesday and was led from the courtroom by officers as his family, some of them in tears, looked on.

At about 8 p.m. on Feb. 27, Bornhorst was northbound on Route 4 in a 2004 Ford F-250 pickup truck with a snowplow blade attached to it when he hit pedestrian Steven Ernye from behind. Bornhorst initially stopped, but left the scene of the accident after rescue crews arrived.

"When you left the scene, did you know that a person was injured?" Young asked.

"Yes, I did," Bornhorst replied.

Ernye's injuries included cuts and several broken bones.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Shanley asked Young to hold a restitution hearing to determine the amount Bornhorst should pay Ernye for his hospitalization treatments.

"There will be a significant amount of restitution asked considering the catastrophic injuries to the victim," Shanley said.

It was not clear if the conviction would have an impact on Bornhorst's position with the volunteer ambulance squad. No one there was available for comment Tuesday.

Bornhorst's older brother, Daniel, was involved in a deadly crash in nearly the same location on Route 4 in 2002.

Daniel T. Bornhorst was drunk when he crashed head-on into a car carrying three Guyanese immigrants along the same road near Agway Drive.

The crash killed Sewdat Poonai, 37.

Daniel Bornhorst pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated and served three years of a possible four-year sentence.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Both Bornhorsts have long volunteered in fire and ambulances services in North Greenbush and Daniel Bornhorst remains an ambulance volunteer, according to the association's website.

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