The state Supreme Court Appellate Division's Third Judicial Department upheld a guilty verdict in Montgomery County Court that netted a woman a 30-day jail sentence after the vehicle she was driving drifted across the center line striking and killing an Amsterdam man in October 2010.
Bonnie Bohacek, of Montgomery Street, Fultonville, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court in September 2011 to 30 days in jail and one year probation.
Following a jury trial, she was convicted June 30, 2011, of reckless driving, but acquitted of second-degree manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular assault and driving while her ability was impaired by drugs.
Bohacek was driving her Chevrolet Impala on Route 5S in the town of Florida around 6:30 a.m. Oct. 15, 2010, when her car crossed the center line and collided head on with a 1995 Honda CRV driven by Anacleto Tambasco, 60, of Amsterdam. Tambasco was pronounced dead at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner Joseph Riley. Bohacek, who was severely injured and unconscious, was transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital.
A blood test was ordered by Undersheriff Jeffery Smith while Bohacek was unconscious after he made a preliminary decision that Bohacek was at fault in the accident.
Prescription pill bottles were located in her vehicle.
Hydrocodone, an opiate, morphine, a strong opiate, and meprobamate, a muscle relaxant and central nervous system depressant, were present in Bohacek's system according to the chemical blood test.
The appeal protested the reliance on the blood test for the verdict and the circumstances on which it was ordered, but County Court, according to the Appellate Division, properly allowed the evidence as law enforcement may order such tests within two hours of an incident.
"If there is probable cause to arrest, a formal arrest of an unconscious driver is not required," according to the decision.
Testimony at the trial indicated two bottles of prescription pills were found in Bohacek's glove compartment.
Bohacek also claimed there was insufficient evidence to convict her. The Appellate Division disagreed.
According to the decision, "the jury could reasonably infer that defendant, in reckless disregard for the consequences, ingested these drugs, drove her car across the center line of the highway, and collided with [Tambasco's] vehicle."
Tambasco's estate in March 2011 filed suit in state Supreme Court in Montgomery County against Bohacek
Peter J. Moschetti of the Latham-based law firm of Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany filed the suit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages for wrongful death.
Amanda Whistle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org