Man gets prison term for fatal I-87 hit and run

A 34-year-old Rockland County man will spend up to four years in prison for leaving the scene of a fatal accident on the Adirondack Northway in Essex County in November 2011.

In a statement released Monday, Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague says Joseph Bohunicky Jr. of West Nyack was sentenced to one-and-a-third to four years in state prison for his role in the crash that killed Mary Morrissey.

“There are no words that can express the loss that this family has endured by the senseless actions of this individual who selfishly chose to leave the scene and not report or seek help for the victims in the car,” Sprague said.

The case dates to Nov. 20, 2011, when Thomas LaFountain and Morrissey, both of Mechanicville, were traveling north on I-87 in the town of Schroon to visit their sister in AuSable Forks. At roughly 7:20 a.m., police said the 2000 Geo Prism driven by LaFountain was hit from behind by a 2001 Toyota Camry driven by Bohunicky, who then drove away without reporting the collision or helping the victims. The Prism hit a guardrail and an embankment, and Morrissey, 65, suffered fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police put out a description of the vehicle they were seeking, describing it as a light-colored Camry with substantial front-end damage and the letters “DWD” on part of its license plate. Prosecutors later revealed that those letters had been imprinted on the bumper of LaFountain’s car.

The Camry was eventually found pulled over on the side of the Palisades Parkway in Rockland County, north of New York City, after Bohunicky called police to report that he had hit a deer. The car was later brought to the state police Troop B headquarters in Ray Brook for a forensic investigation.

The case was presented to an Essex County grand jury, and Bohunicky was indicted in July 2012 on a charge of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, a class D felony, and following too closely, a violation.

Bohunicky pleaded guilty in October to the felony charge.

He was sentenced Friday by Essex County Court Judge Richard Meyer. In addition to the prison term, Bohunicky was ordered to pay $7,517.26 in restitution to the victim’s family, a $2,000 fine and a crime victim’s fee. He also has to submit a DNA sample, and his driver’s license has been revoked.

“State prison was the only option in this case and by the graciousness of Ms. Morrissey’s family, he was given compassion that he did not show to her or her family on that dreadful day,” Sprague said in a statement. “I am just eased by the thought that they now have some answers and some closure so that their healing process may start.”

Bohunicky was represented by Essex County Public Defender Brandon Boutelle.