Hit-and-run charged after driver crashes into Lake Placid News (update)

LAKE PLACID – The driver involved in a hit-and-run incident Tuesday night left behind some key evidence: his license plate.

Village police Chief Bill Moore said the crash was reported to police by Richard Rosentreter, editor of Lake Placid’s weekly newspaper, at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Rosentreter was in the building when someone crashed a vehicle into it.

Police have since ticketed William J. Roth, 32, of Lake Placid, for leaving the scene of a property-damage motor-vehicle accident.

“He lost control of his vehicle and struck the Lake Placid News office building,” Moore explained. “He left the scene of the accident, but his license plate was left behind at the scene.”

“It was a loud bang that at first sounded like a slab of ice falling off the building, which usually happens,” Rosentreter said. “But I realized that there wasn’t that much ice to cause such a thunderous bang, so I knew it was more than that.”

Rosentreter said he looked out a window and saw tire tracks, so he went outside to investigate and saw that a road sign had been knocked over. He said there was damage to the building and tire tracks leaving the scene, as well as pieces of wreckage from the vehicle. After calling the police, Rosentreter said he found a license plate under the snow.

“When the officer, James Staats, arrived, I notified him that the driver left something behind and handed him the plate, much to his delight,” Rosentreter said.

Moore said Patrolman Matthew Braunius traced the vehicle’s registration to Westchester County, but he later discovered that Roth had moved to Lake Placid and that his registration information hadn’t been updated.

The chief said he hadn’t seen Roth’s 2004 Pontiac Vibe, but “from what he left at the scene, there had to be a fair amount of damage.”

Rosentreter said there was “obvious damage to the building.” He said a local contractor has been contacted to assess it.

Cathy Moore is publisher of the Lake Placid News and the Enterprise. She said this isn’t the first time someone has crashed into one of her company’s buildings.

“The Lake Placid News being hit by a vehicle yesterday and once years ago, plus the Adirondack Daily Enterprise being hit twice in the past, makes me wonder if there are magnetic forces to blame,” she joked. “I’m glad this person left his license plate as his calling card to face the charges.”

Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.