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Deputy, firefighter corral ill woman in slow-speed chase


KINDERHOOK–A 69-year-old Suffolk County woman, who was reported missing the morning of October 15, turned up in Columbia County later that evening, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.

The woman apparently had a stroke.

Sheriff’s Correction Officer Daniel Tompkins was returning to the Public Safety Building in Greenport along with a Columbia County Child Protective case worker after taking a juvenile to a youth detention facility in Albany, when he saw a Toyota Camry traveling erratically at about 20 mph headed north on State Route 9H with no headlights on. It was raining heavily at the time, which was about 7 p.m.

Fearing that the Camry would strike or be struck by another vehicle, Officer Tompkins turned the marked Sheriff’s Office transportation van around and activated his emergency lights. As he pulled behind the Camry he saw that it was now weaving side to side in the northbound lane and still traveling at about 20 mph. When the Camry reached the four-traffic-lane section on Route 9H at the exit for Route 9, Valatie, it moved completely into the opposite lanes and almost struck four southbound vehicles head on.

Though the siren and emergency lights were activated on the van, the Camry would not pull over and stop.

As the Camry swerved back into the northbound lane, never going faster than 20 mph, Officer Tompkins drove the van along side of the Camry so that it could not move back into the opposite lane. At the same time, a Niverville Fire Company lieutenant, who was driving on 9H in his personal pickup truck, pulled in front of the Camry. With the van along its side and the firefighter’s truck in front of it, the Camry had no choice but to slow to a stop on 9H near Fischer Road, said the release.

When the officer approached the Camry, he saw that the driver, who was alone in the car, appeared disheveled and disoriented. She told Officer Tompkins she thought she was traveling on a road in Long Island. A license check of the operator revealed that she had been reported missing by the Suffolk County Police at about 5:30 a.m. that day.

The rescue squad was called to the scene and the woman was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital.

Deputy William Dunspaugh arrived on the scene to assist. He contacted the woman’s family members in Northport, Suffolk County and learned that she went missing on her way to work in that area at about 5:30 a.m. As a result of the investigation and after speaking with family members and emergency room doctors, it is believed that the woman suffered a stroke and drove for about 13 hours not knowing where she was, until pulled over in Columbia County just before 7 p.m.

After the Camry was pulled over, a State Police patrol from Kinderhook also responded to the scene to assist.

Sheriff Harrison commended the actions of both Officer Tompkins and Niverville Fire Company Lieutenant James Svensson.  “Typically we do not want someone who is not a police officer, with no training in pulling vehicles over, assisting with this or any type of vehicle stop. However, I believe that the actions of both men prevented a very serious accident and most likely saved the lives of the woman operating the Camry as well as other people driving on 9H,” the sheriff said in the release.


Five teenagers were hurt a serious one-car crash that occurred on County Route 2 at the intersection of Beaver Road, Saturday, October 13 at 4:57 p.m.

Investigating State Police report that Austen Link, 17, the operator of a 1999 Toyota Camry, was traveling east on County Route 2 at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle as he approached a curve. Witnesses said the car then went off the road onto the north shoulder, struck a guide rail and came to rest against two trees at the intersection of Beaver Road. The posted speed limit is 45 mph.  All five occupants suffered injuries and remain hospitalized.

Austen of Pine Plains suffered a fractured back and was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie; front passenger Wei Li, 19, of Hudson suffered a head injury, was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital and flown via Medivac to Albany Medical Center; rear passenger Amber Lynn Mclain, 18, of Claverack suffered a fractured back and was taken to St. Francis Hospital and flown to Westchester Medical Center, where she was listed in critical but stable condition; rear passenger Kaitlyn Mclain, 16, of Claverack suffered a fractured back and lacerations and was taken to St. Francis Hospital; another rear seat passenger, a 15-year-old whose name was not disclosed, of Claverack suffered a fractured femur and was taken to St. Francis Hospital.

Preliminary investigation indicates that neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in the accident and excessive speed appears to be the primary contributing factor.

State Police Captain Scott Brown said in a press release that it is believed that none of the occupants were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.  Charges against the operator are pending at this time. The investigation by Trooper Aaron Schrader is continuing. Troopers Gary Mazzacano, Joseph Crowe, Melanie Dale, and Jonathan Burleigh assisted him at the scene.  Sergeant Robin Reed was also at the scene.

Also assisting at the scene were Livingston, Elizaville and Milan fire companies along with Northern Dutchess Paramedics, the Community and Milan rescue squads. “As always, these emergency responders did an outstanding job in patient care and dealing with the overall scene,” the captain said.


Three teens were charged in connection with a robbery at gunpoint, which occurred October 9.

Hudson Police received a 911 call reporting a gunpoint robbery near 1 Hudson City Center on Green Street involving three suspects at about 11:15 p.m.

Officers and detectives responded to the scene and began the investigation.

Greenport Rescue also responded to assist two victims–men ages 41 and 59 from Hudson. The younger man sustained a laceration to the right side of his face.

The weapon, which was recovered during crime scene processing, was a BB gun that looked like a real handgun.

A short time after receiving the report, two boys, both age 14, one from Hudson and the other from Greenport, were detained by an officer who was on his way to the scene.

The officer, initially hearing the report, saw two suspects fitting the description and detained them. The youths were processed at the police station and then taken to Family Court in connection with two counts of second degree robbery apiece. Both boys appeared before County Judge Richard Koweek and were ordered held pending a future Family Court date.

A third suspect was identified in the incident and found at 41 North Second Street the morning of October 10. He was identified as Anthony Price Baynes, 18, of Hudson. He was charged with two counts of second degree robbery, a class C felony. Mr. Price Baynes was arraigned in City Court before Judge John Connor and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Assistance was received from the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. The incident is still under investigation.

Anyone with information about this or any other crime should contact the Hudson Police Department at 518 828-3388 or the Detective Unit and Tips Line at 518 828-9900.

To contact Diane Valden email

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