MASSENA The preliminary hearing for a Massena man charged with being drunk when he ran over a pedestrian Friday night on East Orvis Street was postponed this week after the defense attorney said she had a conflict of interest.
Village police said James A. Berry, 21, of 36 Park Ave., Massena, struck Edward S. Remington, 46, of East Orvis Street, Massena, at 8:48 p.m. Friday on East Orvis Street near Woodys General Store.
Court documents reported Mr. Remington suffered multiple skull fractures and internal injuries, bleeding in his cranial cavity and several other fractures. He died from those injuries Saturday afternoon at the Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vt.
Mr. Berry was also charged by village police with second-degree vehicular assault and a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated Friday night following the incident. Police said a blood sample was taken so his blood alcohol content was not immediately available. Once the blood results are received, prosecutors are likely to upgrade the charges to reflect Mr. Remingtons death.
Mr. Remingtons family members, on hand Tuesday for the scheduled preliminary hearing, said they are frustrated that they dont have the necessary funds to pay for his funeral. Mr. Remingtons sister said family members had been informed Mr. Berrys insurance company wouldnt pay for the cost of the funeral since their client had allegedly consumed alcohol prior to the accident.
Defense attorney Mary Rain told Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson she had only realized Tuesday afternoon that Mr. Berry had been a co-defendant in a robbery case involving another of her clients, Joseph J. Belile.
Village police charged Mr. Belile and Mr. Berry with second-degree robbery and fifth-degree conspiracy following an incident that took place shortly before midnight Jan. 6 at Mr. Beliles apartment.
District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé said the petit larceny count had been dismissed July 9 in the interest of justice in Massena Village Court. She said the case was dismissed due to an uncooperative witness who refused to return phone calls or appear before a grand jury.
The two men were charged with assaulting Christopher Delosh and then stealing items from him one witness said the stolen items included some cash and a bag of heroin.
A female in Mr. Beliles apartment at the time the incident said a drug transaction took place when Mr. Delosh arrived at the residence.
Mr. Berry, in his statement to police, said he punched Mr. Delosh two or three times in the head before Mr. Belile rejoined the fray.
He said Mr. Belile then took the wallet and then went and grabbed a hammer while Mr. Delosh was still hunched over on the floor.
Mr. Delosh, in a statement he signed for police, said the left side of his head hurt really bad and said his left leg was sore from where he had been hit with the hammer by Mr. Belile.
Village police had charged Mr. Berry with driving while ability impaired by drugs and reckless driving at 8:44 p.m. May 22 after his vehicle was located in the Burger King parking lot in the Harte Haven Shopping Center.
Police said they had received several complaints that, starting from Park Avenue at Center Street, Mr. Berrys vehicle was driving on curbs and running red lights as he drove from Center Street to East Hatfield Street.
They said Mr. Berry fell several times while he was at the police station and his behavior after that incident led them to contact Massena Rescue and have him transported to Massena Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
The DWAI-drugs case remains pending in Village Court.