12/08/2015 — Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen announced that Shawn A. Gusswiller (DOB 11/08/1983), of 1403 North Westcott Road, Schenectady NY, pled guilty Wednesday afternoon in Saratoga County Court to Driving While Intoxicated, in violation of section 1192(3) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, as a class “D” Felony pursuant to “Vince’s Law,” before the Hon. Matthew J. Sypniewski, Acting Saratoga County Court Judge.
Shawn A. Gusswiller pleaded guilty today, August 26, 2015, and admitted in Court that on June 11, 2015 he operated a motor vehicle in an intoxicated condition in the City of Saratoga Springs. Under the recently enacted (August 14, 2014) provisions of “Vince’s Law” as part of today’s plea defendant Gusswiller acknowledged that he had three (3) prior DWI convictions within the 15 years leading up to his June 11, 2015 arrest. It is believed that Gusswiller’s conviction for a “Vince’s Law” DWI is the first in Saratoga County, perhaps one of the first in New York State.
On June 11, 2015, Gusswiller was arrested by the Saratoga Springs Police Department after driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the downtown Saratoga Springs entertainment district. Gusswiller’s actions were captured by the arresting officer’s body camera. The defendant subsequently refused a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol content. At the time of his arrest, Gusswiller had four (4) prior DWI-related convictions (Driving While Intoxicated (2010 and 2008); Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (2010) and Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (2005)) and had a pending DWI-related offense in Schenectady County. Gusswiller was also operating his vehicle without a valid license, as his driver’s license had been revoked due to a previous DWI-related conviction.
On August 14, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation creating “Vince’s Law,” an amendment to the current vehicle and traffic laws that raises the penalty levels for offenders who commit three (3) or more DWI-related offenses within 15 years and was named after Vincent Russo, an Onondaga County many who died after a drunk driver with four prior DWI convictions and one pending DWI charge hit him head-on in 2011.
DA Heggen said “repeat DWI offenders are without question one of the most serious threats to the safety of our roadways – motorists who repeatedly drive drunk have no place on our roads. We are thankful that this case did not have the same tragic consequences as those giving rise to Vince’s Law, and that this law is now on the books to appropriately recognize this threat.”
DA Heggen recognized the work of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, particularly Officer John Guzek, for their efforts in this case. DA Heggen remarked that “the Saratoga Springs Police Department is on the front line of DWI enforcement, and we appreciate their tireless and diligent efforts at keeping drunk, drugged and repeat DWI offenders off of our roads.”
Sentencing is scheduled for October 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm. The Defendant is expected to be sentenced to a state prison sentence at that time. In addition, the Defendant will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he owns or ever operates upon his release from prison for 3 additional years. In addition to a statutorily imposed license revocation, the Defendant may likewise be subject to a lifetime revocation of his driver’s license.
Malina M. Singh sentenced to Prison for 2 to 6 years for conviction of drunk driving crash that caused the death of pedestrian Jonathon L. Rogers
Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen announced that Malina M. Singh (DOB 08/03/1994), of 21 Kristin Jones Road, Lake Luzerne NY 12846, was sentenced Monday morning in Saratoga County Court before the Hon. Matthew J. Sypniewski, Acting Saratoga County Court Judge. Malina Singh was sentenced for her conviction of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, (in violation of section 125.12(1) of the Penal Law, as a class “D” Felony,) to an indeterminate state prison term of 2 to 6 years. As part of the sentence, Singh will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle she owns or ever operates upon her release for 3 additional years.
Malina Singh’s conviction stems from her previously entered guilty plea on June 22, 2015, where she admitted that in the early morning hours of September 5, 2014, she operated a motor vehicle in an intoxicated condition and then struck and ultimately caused the death of Jonathon L. Rogers, a 34-year-old pedestrian, as he walked along State Route 9N in Corinth. Singh had spent the hours leading up to the fatal crash drinking alcohol and a chemical test of her blood revealed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18% – an amount more than twice the legal limit.
At sentencing, the victim’s (Jonathon Rogers) mother Susan Miller delivered an emotional statement and detailed how their family will never be the same as they have lost a son, a brother and a friend – and that his (Roger’s) children have lost their father. Ms. Miller continued that, as a parent, words could not express the devastation she feels – Rogers was her “baby boy” and the “light of her life,” but that light has now been extinguished because of Singh’s decision to drink and drive on September 5, 2014.
Likewise, Tracy Witkowski delivered a statement on behalf of the victim’s (Jonathon Rogers) two children, and identified all of the special moments in her children’s lives that Jonathon will now never get to experience, and how her children will now have go through their lives and through those moments without their father present to share in them.
DA Heggen said “There is simply no amount of time that can compensate for a life taken due to the Defendant’s senseless and criminal decision to drive drunk on September 5, 2014. This case typifies the tragic consequences that can result from drunk driving – the loss not only of an innocent life, but the equally devastating collateral consequences to the family and friends left behind. We believe this to be a fair sentence, and hope that this morning’s plea has been able to bring some element of closure and justice to the family of Mr. Rogers.”
DA Heggen recognized the efforts of Assistant District Attorney Matthew R. Coseo, who prosecuted the case, as well as the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department for their efforts in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.