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District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Plea
In Fatal Mount Hope Hit and Run
Wallkill Man Admits Striking a Woman Walking in Mount Hope
With Pick-up Truck and Leaving the Scene Without Reporting
Body of Deceased Woman Discovered by Passing Motorists
the Next Morning
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, Stephen Grundel, 38, of Wallkill, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge William L. DeProspo, to one felony count of Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting. The plea was taken in connection with the death of a woman who had been walking along the roadway when she was struck by a pick-up truck that Grundel was driving on March 30, 2019, at approximately 11:15 p.m., on State Street, in the Town of Mount Hope. At the time that Grundel pleaded guilty, he admitted that he knew that the 2000 Silverado pick-up truck that he had been driving had struck a living being and that he had reason to believe that he had caused person injury to a person, but that he failed to stop the truck to see who he had struck and left the scene without either looking to see who he had struck or notifying authorities. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene after being discovered by passing motorists the next morning.
Grundel is next scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on August 27, 2019. Pursuant to the plea agreement placed on the record at the time Grundel pleaded guilty, the District Attorney will be recommending that he be sentenced to one to three years in state prison.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police and Town of Mount Hope Police Department for their investigation and the arrest of Grundel, as well as the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit for their analysis of the crime scene.
“Although not all traffic fatalities are criminal, there was no excuse for not stopping and reporting the incident,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Leaving the injured and dying woman in the roadway, in the cold, and in the dark, without alerting the police, or calling for help, is criminal conduct for which this defendant must be held accountable.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.